Government of Canada highlights Budget 2021 investments to keep Canadians healthy  

News release

April 23, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

Today, the Government of Canada highlighted how Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, is a plan to finish the fight against COVID-19, create jobs, and ensure a robust economic recovery that brings all Canadians along.

The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. The largest immunization campaign in Canada’s history is underway and Canada is on track to meet the commitment that every Canadian who wants to will be fully vaccinated by September, free of charge. Budget 2021 lays out the government’s plan to invest $2.2 billion over seven years, towards strengthening Canada’s domestic life sciences sector and restoring domestic bio-manufacturing capabilities that have not been in Canada for decades.

The pandemic has shone a light on systemic issues affecting long-term care facilities across the country. Budget 2021 proposes to provide $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made. This is in addition to the $1 billion provided through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for the creation of the Safe Long-term Care Fund.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing mental health challenges for Canadians. Budget 2021 is a plan to provide almost $1 billion for mental health care, including for front-line workers, veterans, and Indigenous peoples. Budget 2021 invests to establish national standards for mental health services and to continue providing Canadians with free access to live support, treatment, and credible information through the Wellness Together Canada portal.

Budget 2021 also recognizes that Canadians face health challenges beyond the pandemic. Budget 2021 takes further action to address the ongoing opioid crisis that has been compounded during the pandemic. Budget 2021 takes action to address gaps in the quality of care women receive and ensure equitable and appropriate access to sexual and reproductive health care support.

The best way to keep the economy strong is to keep Canadians healthy. Certain public health restrictions remain necessary to limit the spread of the virus. That is why Budget 2021 includes a plan to do whatever it takes to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the pandemic, to recovery. Budget 2021 proposes to extend the wage subsidy, rent subsidy, and Lockdown Support to September so that businesses and workers have certainty and support as they follow necessary public health restrictions and protect the health of our communities.


“This budget is about finishing the fight against COVID. Finishing the fight means buying vaccines, supporting provincial and territorial health care systems, enforcing quarantine rules at the border and within the country, and providing Canadians and Canadian businesses with the support they need to get through these tough, third-wave lockdowns, and to come roaring back when the economy fully reopens.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • With the arrival of the third wave of the virus prior to Budget 2021, the federal government announced an emergency top up of $5 billion for province and territories, specifically $4 billion through the Canada Health Transfer to help provinces and territories address immediate health care system pressures and $1 billion to support vaccine rollout campaigns across the country.

  • Key proposed measures to support the health of Canadians and finish the fight against COVID-19 include:

    • Providing $41.3 million over six years, and $7.7 million ongoing, starting in 2021-22, for Statistics Canada to improve data infrastructure and data collection on supportive care, primary care, and pharmaceuticals.
    • Providing $90 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada to launch the Age Well at Home initiative. Age Well at Home would assist community-based organizations in providing practical support that helps low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors age in place, such as matching seniors with volunteers who can help with meal preparations, home maintenance, daily errands, yard work, and transportation. This initiative would also support regional and national projects that help expand services that have already demonstrated results in helping seniors stay in their homes. For example, knowledge hubs can help seniors access the local services available to them or provide information, resources, and training to community-based organizations delivering practical supports to seniors.
    • Providing $45 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to help develop national mental health service standards, in collaboration with provinces and territories, health organizations, and key stakeholders.
    • Providing $100 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, including health care workers, front-line workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, and racialized and Black Canadians.
    • Providing $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to support a trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stream of mental health programming for populations at high risk of experiencing COVID-19 trauma and those exposed to various trauma brought about by COVID-19.
    • Providing a total $2.2 billion over seven years towards growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector. This support would provide foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, and support the growth of Canadian life sciences firms, including:
      • $500 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bio-science capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals.
      • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund.
      • $92 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for adMare to support company creation, scale up, and training activities in the life sciences sector.
      • $59.2 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to support the development of its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon.
      • $45 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research.
    • Providing $28.6 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, with $5.7 million per year ongoing, to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to help address antimicrobial resistance. Investments would support efforts to prevent the inappropriate use of antimicrobials and expand efforts to monitor the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in Canada.
    • Providing $20 million over five years, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support a new National Institute for Women’s Health Research that will import women’s care and health outcomes.
    • Providing $45 million over three years to fund community-based organizations that help make sexual and reproductive health care information and services more accessible for vulnerable populations. 

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Deputy Prime Minister's Office

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Department of Finance Canada

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