Canada signs $733 million bilateral agreement to help British Columbians age with dignity
February 12, 2024 | Vancouver, British Columbia | Health Canada
Every senior in Canada deserves to age in dignity, safety, and comfort, regardless of where they live. That is why the Government of Canada is investing close to $200 billion over 10 years, which includes $5.4 billion for tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories on Aging with Dignity.
Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada's Minister of Health and the Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health of British Columbia announced a bilateral agreement to invest $733 million over the next five years to help British Columbians age with dignity, closer to home, through improved access to home and community care and long-term care (LTC). This funding builds on the $1.2 billion bilateral agreement that was announced with the province in October of 2023.
Federal funding will support British Columbia's five-year action plan to improve health care for seniors. The plan will:
- Expand home and community care services
- Continue to expand and integrate home and community care services for seniors with complex medical conditions and frailty to better meet their needs and help reduce pressures on hospitals and emergency departments.
- Improve the availability of palliative and end-of-life care
- Increase access to palliative and end of life care for people outside hospital settings, enabling them to have these supports in their home, hospice, or community settings.
- Improve the quality of long-term care services
- Improve dementia care through implementation of evidence practice knowledge, standardized education, and monitoring tools.
- Strengthen the appropriateness, safety, and quality of LTC by enabling consistent, appropriate standards of care and oversight of LTC services.
- Support aging in place through connecting frail seniors in their homes to a new outreach program through long-term care providing supports, services and respite care.
- Support the delivery of excellent long-term care through improved long-term care experience for residents, by hiring and training diverse, skilled staff, and enhancing working conditions in LTC facilities.
Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which British Columbia will publicly report on annually.
Through this new agreement and the Working Together agreement signed in October 2023, British Columbia will improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to Canadians; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; and facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to uphold the Canada Health Act to protect Canadians' access to health care that is based on need, not the ability to pay.
Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the Government of Canada and British Columbia also commit to meaningfully engage and work together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. British Columbia action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
British Columbia and the federal government will continue working together to improve access to health services and deliver results for seniors across the province, including responding to the needs of Indigenous and other underserved and disadvantaged populations.
"Canadians deserve access to safe and quality health care at every stage of their lives. Through this Aging with Dignity agreement and action plan, together with British Columbia we will help transform the health care system so that no matter where they live, seniors in British Columbia can get the care they deserve."
The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
"Seniors deserve to age with dignity and choice. So they can age on their terms. None of that is possible without a strong health care system. The investments we're making in BC will make it even stronger."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan Jr.
Minister for Seniors
"As B.C.'s seniors' population grows rapidly and in some communities at an unprecedented rate, so does the demand for health-care services. The bilateral funding agreement announced today bolsters B.C.'s investments to meet that need in the short and long term by improving access to high-quality, safe, dignified home and community care, palliative and end-of-life care as well as long-term care services for seniors and their families. I look forward to partnering with the federal government to ensure that B.C.'s seniors can age in dignity at home and to continue our collaboration in bettering the health and well-being of people in B.C."
The Honourable Adrian Dix
B.C.'s Minister of Health
"People in our province deserve to know that their governments are working together to ensure that seniors can access quality health care that are vital to their wellbeing as they age, close to home. By continually expanding access to the home and community care services and long-term care that people in B.C. need, we are making senior care in our communities stronger and better so our seniors can live healthier lives and age gracefully surrounded by their loved ones."
B.C.'s Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors' Services and Long-Term Care
Under the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians plan, the Government is working with provinces and territories to implement two series of bilateral agreements, one of which is focused on helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home with access to home or community care or care in a safe long-term care facility.
The Aging with Dignity agreement, which complements the Working Together agreement, includes $2.4 billion over four years to improve access to home and community care from Budget 2017; and $3 billion over five years for long-term care from Budget 2021 to apply standards of care in long-term care facilities and help support workforce stability. British Columbia's 5-year Aging with Dignity Agreement and Action Plan can be found here.
Budget 2023 outlined the Government of Canada's plan to invest over $200 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories, to improve health care for Canadians. Within this funding, $25 billion is allocated through new tailored bilateral agreements to address the unique needs of their populations and geography in four shared health priorities:
- expanding access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas;
- supporting health workers and reducing backlogs;
- increasing mental health and substance use support; and
- modernizing health care systems with health data and digital tools.
British Columbia's three-year Working Together Agreement and Action Plan, announced on October 10th, is associated with the above shared health priorities and can be found here.
The Working Togetherplan is also a guaranteed 5% Canada Health Transfer (CHT) increase for the next five years—amounting to $17.5 billion—and a one time CHT $2 billion top-up to address to urgent needs of emergency rooms and paediatric hospitals delivered in June 2023. Combined, these investments provide provinces and territories the flexibility to address the unique needs of their populations and geography, and accelerate health care system improvements.
Budget 2017 committed $11 billion over 10 years in federal funding to provinces and territories to improve access to home and community care, and mental health and addictions services for Canadians. Bilateral agreements were signed with provinces and territories to access the first six years of that funding. The final four years of funding for mental health and addictions are included in the Working Together bilateral agreements.
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
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