Premiers will accept $46B health-care funding deal offered by federal government

Premiers will accept $46B health-care funding deal offered by federal government
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos speaks with reporters as he makes his way to caucus, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 in Ottawa.

VICTORIA – British Columbia Premier David Eby says the agreement by Canada’s premiers to accept billions in new health-care funding from the federal government will give stability to the system.

Eby says after speaking with other premiers, it’s clear that every region in the country is struggling with the strains of funding health care.

He says while the problems are different for each jurisdiction, the need for federal support is urgent and acute.

Eby says he looks forward to meeting with federal ministers Tuesday on a bilateral agreement for B.C., to look for support in areas such as long-term care, home care and mental health and addictions supports.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the other priority is caring for the aging population, noting that in the next decade there will be twice as many people over 75 in B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s offer made to the premiers last week includes a top up for health transfers of two billion dollars right away and annual increases of five per cent over the next five years, but only if each province agrees to conditions, including upgrading health data collection.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said earlier in the day the premiers agreed to accept the health-care funding deal offered to them, although they say it is far less than they wanted.

Stefanson is the current chair and spokeswoman of the premiers association known as the Council of the Federation.

The premiers met virtually Monday, nearly a week after Trudeau offered the provinces and territories another $46 billion in health-care funding on top of the planned federal health transfers over the next 10 years.

READ MORE: Premiers optimistic about national health deal, as B.C.’s Eby floats side meetings

The offer was well shy of the premiers’ demand for Ottawa to increase its share of health spending from 22 per cent to 35 per cent.

Stefanson says the proposal amounts to about a two per cent increase.

Still, she says the provinces will accept the new money while continuing to work with Ottawa on a long-term plan to ensure the viability of Canada’s cherished health-care system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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