Deputy Prime Minister highlights Budget 2022 investments in health care

News release

More doctors and nurses for rural communities

April 12, 2022 - Halifax, Nova Scotia - Department of Finance Canada

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, toured Dalhousie University with medical and nursing students to discuss how Budget 2022 bolsters Canada’s public health care system, and how to ensure Canadians in rural communities get the high-quality health care they deserve.

Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable is the government’s plan to create jobs and prosperity today, and build a stronger economic future for all Canadians. As the federal government continues to work with provinces and territories on investing in health care, Budget 2022 takes immediate steps to reduce backlogs in surgeries and procedures, to make it easier for Canadians to access the dental and mental health care they deserve, and to continue strengthening our health care system—including in rural communities.

Far too many communities—including many in Nova Scotia—still lack the primary health care they need. To bring more doctors and nurses to communities that need them most, Budget 2022 proposes to increase Canada Student Loans forgiveness for those working in underserved rural or remote communities. The government is also undertaking a review to ensure that the definition of rural communities under the program does not leave out communities in need.

This measure would build on the government’s commitment, announced last month, to provide an additional one-time, $2billion top-up to provinces and territories to reduce waitlists and clear the pandemic-driven backlogs of surgeries and other medical procedures.

Quotes

“Far too many Canadians in rural communities struggle to access the doctor or nurse they need. To help bring more health care workers to the communities that need them most, our government is increasing loan forgiveness for doctors up to $60,000, and for nurses up to $30,000, if they are working in a rural or remote community. This will make it easier for people across Nova Scotia—and across Canada—to get the high quality care they need close to home and help to strengthen Canada’s world-class public health care system for years to come.”

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

“Canadians are proud of our universal, high quality health care system and our government will continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to strengthen it so it works for all Canadians. The student-loan forgiveness initiative is another step towards growing our health care workforce and ensuring that it can meet the structural and demographic challenges of the 21st century.”

 - The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

“More than ever before, the last two years have demonstrated the importance of a robust and resilient health care system. Today’s announcement will support the availability of medical and health professionals where they are needed most by investing in students and supporting graduates who choose to make their career in underserved rural and remote communities.”

- Dr. Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor, Dalhousie University

Quick facts

  • Budget 2022 proposes increased loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses in rural and remote communities to address longstanding shortages in primary health care. In 2019-20, nearly 5,500 doctors and nurses benefited from the loan forgiveness program.

    • To help bring more health care workers to the communities that need them most, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $26.2 million over four years, starting in 2023-24, and $7 million ongoing, to increase the maximum amount of forgivable Canada Student Loans by 50 per cent. This will mean up to $30,000 in loan forgiveness for nurses and up to $60,000 in loan forgiveness for doctors working in underserved rural or remote communities.
    • In addition, the federal government will expand the current list of eligible professionals under the program, with details to be announced in the coming year. The government is also undertaking a review to ensure that the definition of rural communities under the program does not leave out certain communities in need.
  • Further Measures in Budget 2022 to bolster health care in Canada include:

    • $5.3 billion over five years to provide dental care for Canadians with family incomes of less than $90,000 annually.
    • $20 million over five years to support additional research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 infections on Canadians
    • $20 million over five years to ramp up efforts to learn more about dementia and brain health
    • $30 million over three years for the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to help accelerate innovations in brain health and aging.
    • $140 million over two years to ensure the Wellness Together Canada portal continues to provide Canadians with tools and services to support their mental health and well-being.
    • $100 million over three years to enhance the response to the opioid overdose crisis.
    • $3.7 million over four years for the implementation of a Mental Health Fund for Black federal public servants.
    • $436.2 million over five years to ensure Canada is better prepared to detect and act on future public health events and emergencies.
    • $50 million in 2022-23 to support the operations of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile.
    • $25 million over two years to establish a national pilot project for a Menstrual Equity Fund that will help make menstrual products available to Canadians in need.
  • In the last two years, pandemic-related transfers by the federal government to provinces and territories total more than $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.

  • On March 25, 2022, the government introduced Bill C-17 to provide an additional $2 billion one-time top-up to provinces and territories to address immediate pandemic-related health care system pressures. The amount, to be distributed equally per capita, is in addition to the $4.5 billion in one-time Canada Health Transfer top-ups provided since the start of the pandemic.

    • This top-up is in addition to the $45.2 billion in health care transfers that the federal government will provide to provinces and territories through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) in 2022-23.
  • 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  

Associated links

Contacts

Media may contact

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Adrienne.Vaupshas@fin.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada
mediare@fin.gc.ca
613-369-4000

General enquiries

Phone: 1-833-712-2292
TTY: 613-369-3230
E-mail: financepublic-financepublique@fin.gc.ca

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