Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended his 23rd meeting with Canada’s premiers today by promising to increase health care funding to the provinces – but not before the pandemic pressure subsides.
“It’s going to be important that the federal government steps up and increases its share of the cost of health care with the Canada Health Transfer,” Trudeau said after the meeting. “We are going to do that and I look forward to conversations over the coming months about how we can increase it.
“Of course, our focus remains right now [on] getting through this pandemic. And as I said multiple times to the premiers, we will be there to support them with extra health care costs linked to this pandemic, whatever it takes, for as long as this pandemic lasts.”
While Trudeau’s promise to increase Canada Health Transfer payments to provinces was good news for the premiers, they said they were disappointed that the prime minister decided not to discuss the increase in funding in the short-term.
Trudeau said eight of the 10 dollars in government support given to individuals and businesses during a pandemic was from the federal government.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said that the cost of providing healthcare is increasing at 5% a year due to the aging population, the rising cost of drugs, and new medical technology, while the province’s revenue is only increasing at a rate of 3.2% annually.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said that when it comes time to discuss increasing the share of federal healthcare funding, he wants those talks to take place with all the premiers present.
This online meeting showed Trudeau promised to work with provinces to deliver a national pharmaceutical program and improve funding and eligibility in Canadian nursing homes.
Trudeau also confirmed that the federal government will bear the full cost of providing the COVID-19 vaccine to the provinces.
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