Modernizing our universal health-care system
I hear from our community every day how hard it is to find a family doctor; how emergency rooms are closing or wait times are incredibly long, sometimes with tragic results; how the need for mental health and substance use support far outweighs capacity. Our health-care system and workers are under enormous strain, a situation made worse by the pandemic, and needs immediate action.
On Feb. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $198.6 billion over 10 years for provinces and territories to improve health-care services for Canadians. It includes an immediate, unconditional $2 billion Canada Health transfer top-up to address immediate pressures, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. On Feb. 24 the governments of Canada and Manitoba reached an agreement in principle that invests $6.74 billion in federal funding over 10 years in Manitoba.
These investments, on top of already significant funding, will further help provide Canadians with health care, including access to:
• High-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities;
• A resilient and supported health workforce that provides high-quality, effective and safe health services;
• Timely, equitable and quality mental health, substance use and addiction services to support well-being; and
• Their own electronic health information.
Helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility is another area of priority. Collaborative work is already underway with provinces and territories to help support access to home care and long-term care but we know more is needed. That’s why we also announced an additional $1.7 billion over five years to support wage increases for personal support workers and related professions.
Provinces and territories are being asked to collect, share and use health information to improve transparency on results and help manage public health emergencies. Provinces and territories will also have the flexibility to tailor their bilateral agreements to address the unique needs of their populations. Finally, we ask provinces and territories to develop action plans that outline how the funding will be spent, and how progress will be measured and reported to you.
I want to assure you that the Government of Canada will continue to work in collaboration with provinces and territories on next steps, in your best interest. We will work to deliver concrete outcomes for you and improve the health-care system that we value and depend on.
Saint Boniface-Saint Vital constituency report
Dan Vandal is the Liberal MP for Saint Boniface-Saint Vital.