Pan-Canadian Virtual Care Priorities in Response to COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with provincial and territorial governments to put in place a range of digital supports to help Canadians get the information, resources and care they need throughout this unprecedented time. On May 3, 2020, the Prime Minister confirmed this commitment by announcing an investment of $240.5 million to accelerate the use of virtual tools and digital approaches to support Canadians.
The majority of this funding will be used to support provinces and territories accelerate their efforts on virtual care so that Canadians can continue to have their health needs met. These bilateral agreements will provide provinces and territories with $150 million for virtual services in fiscal year 2020-21.
Following the Prime Minister's announcement, federal, provincial and territorial officials agreed to the five priorities for these investments:
- secure messaging and file-transfer platforms or supports to enable end-to-end messaging;
- secure video-conferencing technology to deliver care to patients remotely;
- remote patient monitoring technologies;
- patient access to COVID-19 and other lab results; and
- back-end supports for integration of new platforms and supports, including needed hardware.
In addition to the federal support to provinces and territories of $150 million this fiscal year, Canada Health Infoway will receive up to $50 million to support provinces and territories in the implementation of new initiatives pursuant to these agreements.
To enable Canadians to assess progress, the Canadian Institute for Health Information will report the results of this work, based on jurisdiction-specific performance measures.
In addition, federal, provincial and territorial officials are moving forward on work to understand how virtual care has improved access to health services during the pandemic. Through this separate work on evaluation, they will be looking to learn more about these and other implications of the shift to virtual health service delivery during COVID-19.
Following the agreement by federal, provincial and territorial officials on the five priority areas for the federal investments in virtual care, the federal government began negotiating on a multilateral and bilateral basis the virtual care agreements with provinces and territories.
As set out in the agreements, on 90 days of signing the agreement, provinces and territories will also provide an Action Plan, setting out details of the jurisdiction-specific initiatives for virtual care supported by the federal investments. The agreements and action plans (when available) can be viewed at the following links:
- Link to news release of signing of agreement (February 5, 2021)
- Canada-British Columbia Bilateral Agreement for Pan-Canadian Virtual Care Priorities in Response to COVID-19
Prince Edward Island
- Link to news release of signing of agreement (February 8, 2021)
- Canada-Prince Edward Island Bilateral Agreement for Pan-Canadian Virtual Care Priorities in Response to COVID-19
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