British Columbia PM meets with Ottawa to discuss health care funding agreement

BC Prime Minister David Eby, along with his Canadian counterparts, on Monday accepted Ottawa's healthcare funding proposal.  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press - photo credit)

BC Prime Minister David Eby, along with his Canadian counterparts, on Monday accepted Ottawa’s healthcare funding proposal. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press – photo credit)

Prime Minister David Eby and two federal ministers held talks Tuesday focused on reaching bilateral agreements on health issues in British Columbia.

While nothing has been finalized, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos expects British Columbia and Ottawa to soon reach a flexible one-to-one agreement that will improve healthcare services for people in need of care and those who provide those services.

On Monday, Eby joined Canada’s other prime ministers in accepting the federal government’s offer of $46.2 billion in additional funding over the next decade, ending a months-long hiatus in negotiations.

Eby says Ottawa’s increased health care funding is a step in the right direction after years of squeezing provincial health budgets.

Talks in Victoria on Tuesday focused on finalizing side agreements between the BC and federal governments to support families, frontline workers and those seeking help with mental illness and addiction, as well as modernizing the work environment for healthcare professionals , said Jean-Yves Duclos.

“It’s a great opportunity to be here together, but there’s a lot more to do,” Duclos said after he and Secretary of State for Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc met with Eby.

USD 600 million/year over the next ten years

BC expects to receive an average of $600 million per year in healthcare funding from the federal government over the next decade.

Eby said ongoing bilateral talks between BC and the federal government are about where the province will allocate funds, with hospital relief being a key part of the talks.

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press

“We haven’t identified any areas, but we broadly support the bucket that the federal government has put in place regarding mental health and addiction, home care and long-term care,” Eby said.

“Things that will relieve our hospitals.”

Ottawa plans to meet with each province and territory to sign unique and tailored agreements.

Eby is also optimistic that BC will be able to work with the federal government to improve immigration routes and national accreditation for healthcare workers.

Funding 4 key areas of healthcare

Ottawa’s health financing plan includes an increase in Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and new funding in four key areas:

The plan calls for a five percent annual increase in CHT for the next five years before returning to a three percent annual increase.

In return, Ottawa asked provinces and territories to commit to improving the collection and sharing of health data to promote transparency of outcomes and manage public health emergencies.

Also during the talks, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Rob Flemming met with Eby and the two federal ministers to discuss how the federal government could support BC on future infrastructure projects such as the Massey Tunnel, Iona Water Treatment Plant and the Belleville Terminal can support.


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