Federal Health Funding to Alberta Needs Strings Attached to Protect Public Health Care

Federal Health Funding to Alberta Needs Strings Attached to Protect Public Health Care

OTTAWA — Tomorrow, Canada’s Premiers will be in Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau to discuss health care funding.

For months, Friends of Medicare, other health coalitions, and health care advocates across the country have been calling for an increase to the Canadian Health Transfer, and have held that any new agreement to fund public health care must be used in the public interest and not be allowed to be used by Premiers to privatize health care in their provinces.

“There is no doubt our public health care system is in need of more support right now, but any new federal dollars must come with accountability measures and strings attached,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “If an agreement is reached tomorrow, Albertans need assurances that any new funding will go towards protecting our public health care system, and not be used for further privatization.”

Alberta’s public health care system is struggling, largely due to a widespread and increasingly dire short staffing crisis. Despite ongoing calls on the UCP government to address the staffing crisis in health care, they have refused to take the necessary action to improve working conditions for Alberta’s health care workers, and instead continue to pursue an aggressive agenda of health care privatization, which is only making our staffing challenges worse. 

“We are in a critical moment for Canada’s universal, public health care system, a moment which necessitates that our federal leaders come to the table with robust funding through the Canada Health Transfer,” said Gallaway. “But it also requires provincial accountability. Premiers should not be handed a blank cheque to do with as they please. They need to agree to use the funds to strengthen public health care, and to finally get on board with important new programs to expand the Medicare umbrella, such as universal, single-payer pharmacare.”

Friends of Medicare will be in Ottawa tomorrow, meeting with federal politicians and participating in the Rally for Public Health Care happening outside of the meeting between the Premiers and the Prime Minister.

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