Government of Canada Invests Close to $6.5 Million to Expand Virtual Health Care Services in Saskatchewan
April 1, 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 Saskatchewan 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, Saskatchewan will receive close to $6.5 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.
“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 Saskatchewan in their expansion of virtual health care services, ensuring Saskatchewanians have health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Canada’s Minister of Health
“At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan moved quickly to provide patients with access to safe and secure virtual doctor’s appointments using telephone and video conferencing services. Between March 2020 and December 2020, Saskatchewan patients had more than 1.7 million virtual appointments with a physician. This funding will help Saskatchewan’s existing virtual care initiatives, support the delivery of safe and effective care closer to home, and improve communication between providers and patients.”
The Honourable Paul Merriman
Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health
“This is an important step to provide Saskatchewan residents with access to more virtual health care services. Saskatchewanians can use virtual tools to continue to access the health services they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. More virtual services means better health outcomes, better access to services, and a more sustainable health care system.”
The Honourable Jim Carr
Special Representative for the Prairies
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 these services within Canadian health systems, namely:
- secure messaging and file transfer,
- secure video conferencing,
- remote patient monitoring technologies,
- patient access to their COVID-19 and other lab results, andback-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.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
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