New federal health care funding targets family and mental health services and surgical backlogs

Work is now beginning on a detailed three-year action plan with goals and timetables for health improvements.  (Carsten Koall/Getty Images - photo credit)

Work is now beginning on a detailed three-year action plan with goals and timetables for health improvements. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images – photo credit)

Manitoba and the federal government have reached an agreement in principle on a deal that will see more than $6 billion in health funds flow to the province.

The money will improve access to family health services and mental health services, reduce surgical backlogs and support health workers in the province, according to a Health Canada press release with Federal Health Secretary Jean-Yves Duclos on Friday morning.

Manitoba is now the sixth province, following Ontario and the four Atlantic provinces, to sign a memorandum of understanding for the new healthcare funding.

But Prime Minister Heather Stefanson didn’t exactly gush about the deal on Friday, saying the funding for Manitoba is equivalent to about 2 percent of the province’s total health care budget.

“So this will not have a significant impact on the long-term financial viability of healthcare in Manitoba. But we recognize that this is a step in the right direction, so we accept the funds,” she said.

Work on a detailed three-year action plan with targets and timelines for these improvements will now begin, the press release said.

Jeff Stapleton/CBC

Jeff Stapleton/CBC

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Canadian prime ministers on February 7 to unveil a new $198.6 billion 10-year plan, of which $46.2 billion is new money, including an unconditional one Added $2 billion to Canada Health Transfer to address immediate pressures on each province’s health system.

Of that $46.2 billion, $25 billion was set aside for separate bilateral agreements between the federal government and each province and territory. That money comes with conditions aimed at improving four priority areas: family health services, health workers and residues, mental health and drug use, and a “modernized health system.”

At a first ministerial meeting on February 13, the prime ministers announced they had accepted the $198.6 billion proposal, ending months of negotiations.

For Manitoba, that totals about $6.7 billion over the 10 years, including $72 million of immediate, one-time increases in health transfers to be used for urgent needs like long waits for surgeries.

The federal government said it will also work with Manitoba to streamline the recognition of foreign qualifications for internationally trained health professionals, Friday’s release said.

Duclos and Secretary of State for Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc spent the last two weeks traveling across the country to discuss where each province’s share of the $25 billion would be allocated.

They met with Manitoba Stefanson and a handful of their ministers on February 17.


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