Government of Canada Invests $18 Million to Virtual Health Care Services in British Columbia

News release

February 5, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

Canada’s universal, publicly funded health care system is a source of pride for Canadians. The Government of Canada is working closely with provincial and territorial governments to strengthen health care and adapt the system to the challenges of delivering health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced the signature of a bilateral agreement with British Columbia to expand virtual health care services for its residents. Under the agreement, the province will invest federal funding based on agreed-upon pan-Canadian priorities for accelerating virtual health care services during the pandemic.

Through this bilateral agreement, British Columbia will receive close to $18 million to further expand their virtual health care services. Over the coming weeks, the province will be developing an action plan that outlines how they will invest their share of federal funding to improve access to virtual health care.

Quotes

“Now more than ever, Canadians need access to virtual health care services to support their health. We are working with provinces and territories to support the rapid deployment of such services for Canadians, to ensure they can access the care they need, whenever they need it. Today’s investment will support British Columbia in their expansion of virtual health care services, ensuring British Columbians have health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Canada’s Minister of Health

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to new ways for British Columbians to access health and well-being supports across technological platforms, when and where they need it. The federal government’s investment in the digital tools is needed to deliver timely healthcare services and do everything we can to protect the health and well-being of British Columbians and keep others safe.”

Adrian Dix
British Columbia’s Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • On May 3, 2020, the Prime Minister announced an investment of $240.5 million to increase access to virtual services and digital tools to support Canadians’ health and wellbeing.

  • $150 million of that funding will be provided to provinces and territories through targeted bilateral agreements aimed at expanding virtual health services in five priority areas for immediate action to support further embedding virtual health care services within Canadian health systems, namely:

    • secure messaging and file transfer,
    • secure videoconferencing,
    • remote patient monitoring technologies,
    • patient access to their COVID-19 and other lab results, and
    • back-end supports for integration and/or alignment of these new platforms or existing tools.  
  • This funding is also in addition to the $50 million in incremental federal funding allocated to Canada Health Infoway to further support provincial and territorial efforts to rapidly implement new initiatives in keeping with the five priority areas.

  • Bilateral agreements on virtual care are a time-limited initiative aimed at ensuring that Canadians can continue to access the health care services they need during this time of uncertainty.

  • Health Canada is building on this investment by working with provinces and territories on related policy issues. This will enable the longer-term adoption of high-quality and safe virtual health care services as a complement to in-person care.

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Contacts

Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

Public Enquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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