Canada commits $2 billion in additional health care funding to clear backlogs and support hundreds of thousands of additional surgeries

News release

March 25, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

Canadians are rightfully proud of their publicly funded health care system. Ensuring accessible, public, high-quality health care is ever critical as we adapt to a post-pandemic reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed an estimated 700,000 surgeries and other medical procedures, resulting in an increase of waitlists and backlogs. The federal government is today taking further action to help provinces and territories deliver quicker access to health care, reduce the backlog accumulated during the pandemic and support hundreds of thousands additional surgeries.

Today, the federal government introduced Bill C-17 in the House of Commons, which would provide an additional $2 billion one-time top-up to provinces and territories, distributed equally per capita. This amount—in addition to the $4.5 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up provided since the start of the pandemic—would further help provinces and territories to address immediate pandemic-related health care system pressures, particularly the backlogs of surgeries, medical procedures and diagnostics.

The Government of Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to drive positive health care outcomes for Canadians. This investment is a part of the government’s promise to Canadians to protect their health. It would provide doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals with the resources they need to ensure Canadians have access to the care they deserve. Provinces and territories would be able to use this funding to support their own unique circumstances, including strengthening the health workforce.

Bill C-17 would also provide the authority for the previously announced transfer of $750 million to help municipalities deal with transit shortfalls and to improve housing supply and affordability, in partnership with the provinces and territories. This one-time payment would help cities maintain their service levels despite decreased ridership as a result of the pandemic.


“Since the pandemic began, the federal government has invested over $63 billion to support Canadians’ health and safety. Because of this strong support from the federal government, provincial and territorial balance sheets have been sheltered from the pandemic. But Canadians across the country are still facing significant backlogs of delayed surgeries and long waitlists for procedures as a result of the pandemic. This further $2 billion investment would help us continue our Team Canada approach to protecting the health and safety of Canadians as we move forward to the brighter days ahead.”

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

“Today’s investment would help our provincial and territorial partners expedite the processing of surgeries that had been delayed due to COVID-19. This is a significant first step on the road to addressing the major health care challenges lying ahead of us, including repairing the damages caused by the pandemic and upholding the principles of universality and accessibility that are so dear to Canadians in the long-term.

- The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

“As a registered nurse, I’ve seen first-hand the major challenges that Canadians, particularly seniors, faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This further $2 billion investment would help us continue to support the health and well-being of Canadians and those on the frontlines of our health care system, through this difficult time and into the future.”

- The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors

 “The unmet mental health and substance use needs of far too many people in Canada have worsened during COVID-19. Our government is committed to improving mental health and substance use services and supports so that Canadians are able to receive timely, high quality, culturally appropriate care regardless of where they live. Moving forward, we will continue working with all our partners, and the provinces and territories to ensure that mental health care is treated as a full and equal part of our universal health care system.”

- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • More than eight out of every ten dollars provided in Canada to fight COVID-19 and support Canadians has been provided by the federal government. 

  • Today’s top-up is in addition to the $87.6 billion the Government of Canada will provide to provinces and territories through major transfers in 2022-23, including $45.2 billion for health care. 

  • In the last two years, pandemic-related direct transfers by the federal government to the provinces and territories total over $20 billion, including $13 billion through the Safe Restart Agreement, the $2 billion Safe Return to Class Fund, $4.5 billion through previously announced CHT top-ups, and $1 billion for vaccine rollouts. The federal government also doubled the Canada Community-Building Fund through a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion for municipalities.

  • CHT payments are made on an equal per capita basis to provide comparable treatment for all Canadians, regardless of where they live. Top-up allocations to the CHT resulting from Bill-C-17 would be as follows:

    • Alberta: $232,332,000 
    • British Columbia: $272,434,000 
    • Manitoba: $72,437,000 
    • New Brunswick: $41,238,000 
    • Newfoundland and Labrador: $27,227,000 
    • Northwest Territories: $2,387,000
    • Nova Scotia: $51,800,000 
    • Nunavut: $2,062,000. 
    • Ontario: $775,500,000 
    • Prince Edward Island: $8,574,000 
    • Quebec: $450,006,000 
    • Saskatchewan: $61,759,000 
    • Yukon: $2,244,000  

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Media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

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