Stronger Public Health Care
March 28, 2023
Canada's universal public health care system, and the workers who uphold it, are under enormous strain—a situation that was only made worse by the pandemic. Budget 2023 includes significant investments to build a healthier Canada.
Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians
The federal government is committed to supporting provinces and territories in delivering better health care results for Canadians—no matter where they live.
Budget 2023 delivers the government's plan to provide an additional $198.3 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories. As previously announced by the Prime Minister, this includes additional Canada Health Transfer measures, tailored bilateral agreements to meet the needs of each province and territory, personal support worker wage support, and renewal of the Territorial Health Investment Fund. The government's plan also includes $2 billion for an Indigenous Health Equity Fund.
In exchange for the new funding, provinces and territories must commit to not divert away health care funding of their own and to improve how health information is collected, shared, used, and reported to Canadians to help manage public health emergencies and deliver better health outcomes.
The New Canadian Dental Care Plan
Dental care is an important component of our health, but seeing a dentist can be expensive. The Canada Dental Benefit is now providing eligible parents or guardians with direct, up-front, tax-free payments to cover the cost of dental care for their children under 12, and has supported more than 240,000 children to date. However, it isn't just children who need affordable dental care.
Budget 2023 delivers a transformative investment to provide dental care to Canadians who need it, with $13 billion over five years, and $4.4 billion ongoing, to implement the Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan would provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with family incomes under $70,000. The plan will begin to roll out in 2023.
Expanding Access to Dental Care
In addition to cost, other factors may also prevent Canadians from accessing dental care, such as living in a remote community, or requiring specialized care due to a disability.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $250 million over three years, and $75 million ongoing, to establish an Oral Health Access Fund. The fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by addressing oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reducing barriers to accessing dental care, including in rural and remote communities.
Encouraging More Doctors and Nurses to Practise in Rural and Remote Communities
Many rural and remote communities lack access to primary health care because of a shortage of health professionals. As one way to address this, Budget 2022 announced a 50 per cent increase to the maximum amount of forgivable Canada Student Loans for doctors and nurses working in underserved rural or remote communities.
Budget 2023 proposes $45.9 million over four years, with $11.7 million ongoing, to expand this program to more rural communities, including all communities with populations of 30,000 or fewer, like Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia. Currently eligible communities with a population over 30,000 will remain eligible until the 2026 Census.
Implementing the 988 Suicide Prevention Line
It's important that people know they are not alone, and those suffering from suicidal thoughts need to be able to access timely, urgent support.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $158.4 million over three years to support the implementation and operation of 988. As of November 30, 2023, Canadians would be able to call or text 988 at any time to access quality, effective, and immediate suicide prevention and mental health crisis support.
Safeguarding Access to Abortion and Other Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services
The overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States served as a reminder that we must continue to do everything we can to protect Canadians' access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care services, including abortion care. With a woman's right to choose under threat around the world, the government is ensuring that abortion services are accessible across Canada and is continuing to reduce existing barriers to sexual and reproductive health care.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $36 million over three years to renew the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund. This fund supports community-based organizations that help make access to abortion, as well as other sexual and reproductive health care information and services, more accessible for vulnerable populations.
Fighting Crime and Saving Lives: Combatting the Opioid Crisis
Too many communities and families have been ravaged by the overdose crisis and toxic illegal drug supplies, which take the lives of an average of 20 Canadians per day, and results in immeasurable strain on our communities, health care systems, and local social services. We must save and rebuild lives and communities.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $359.2 million over five years to support a renewed Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which would guide the government's work to save lives and protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Helping Canadians Stay Active
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $10 million over two years towards ParticipACTION's Let's Get Moving Initiative, which will continue supporting national programming that aims to increase daily physical activity among Canadians.
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