Government of Canada signs two bilateral agreements with New Brunswick to improve health care and long-term care in the province

News release

March 26, 2024 | Moncton, New Brunswick | Health Canada

Canadians deserve health care and long-term care systems that provide them with timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed, as well as the ability to age with dignity closer to home.

That is why today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, the Honourable Bruce Fitch, New Brunswick’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Sherry Wilson, New Brunswick’s Minister responsible for Addictions and Mental Health Services, and the Honourable Kathy Bockus, New Brunswick’s Minister responsible for Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Jill Green, New Brunswick’s Minister of Social Development, announced two bilateral agreements to invest a total amount of more than $430 million to improve health care access and services in New Brunswick.

Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide more than $313 million to support New Brunswick’s three-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system. The plan will support ongoing initiatives in New Brunswick to:

  • Increase the quality and availability of primary care across the province.
    • Allow nurse practitioners to provide non-urgent care for patients as an alternative to emergency department visits;
    • Improve access to lung cancer and cervical cancer screening. 
    • Invest in a mobile x-ray program for nursing home residents, which will reduce the number of transfers and non-urgent visits to the hospital; 
    • Expand accessibility of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring technology; and 
    • Enable pharmacists to assess and treat common ailments, reducing the need for patients to get care at hospitals.
  • Support recruitment, retention and training initiatives for health workers and reduce backlogs.
    • Provide financial incentives for the recruitment of physicians in rural settings and in underserved communities, including francophone communities;
    • Support the transition of up to 10 internationally-trained health professionals into the workforce each year through a new Practice Readiness Assessment program;
    • Enhance health worker retention by implementing initiatives that improve safety and reducing stress in the workplace.
    • Continue hip and knee surgery initiatives that are reducing complications, the length of hospital stays, and readmissions; and
    • Increase the availability of cataract surgery options for New Brunswickers by expanding additional publicly funded cataract surgery clinics, including in Miramichi and Bathurst.
  • Expand the delivery of mental health and substance use services.
    • Improve mental health and addiction services for Indigenous communities in New Brunswick by funding telepsychiatry services for First Nations youth; and 
    • Partner with First Nations to establish a multidisciplinary team which will provide direct support to youths struggling with addiction and mental health challenges.
    • Integrate Community Mental Health Care Services, including treatment facilities in Campbellton and Moncton, for youth with complex mental health needs;
  • Modernize health data systems so that more patients can access care.
    • Improve timely access to both virtual and in-person primary care through eVisitNB and NB Health Link for those who do not have a primary care provider; and
    • Consolidate regional systems into a single province-wide clinical information solution for the storage of medical images and creation of a bilingual, integrated clinical hospital records, ensuring that patient  information will be available at every point of care.

In addition, through the Aging with Dignity Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide  close to $117 million to support New Brunswick’s five-year action plan to help residents age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care (LTC) facility. These funds will support continuing efforts in New Brunswick to: 

  • Improve home and community care systems, including palliative care.
    • Strengthen rehabilitation services for seniors through improved clinical services in Adult Special Care Homes;
    • Implement programs that provide seniors at risk of hospitalization rapid access to community health and social services that keep them in their communities;
    • Implement Community Care New Brunswick, an electronic charting solution that will make it easier to treat people in their homes; and
    • Support residential hospices that deliver continuity of care for end-of-life patients and their families.
  • Strengthen the long-term care workforce.
    • Create a web portal for partners servicing Social Development clients to improve service delivery, reduce wait times, and take pressure off facility-based care by supporting 47 home support agencies, and expanding to include 508 long-term care facilities;
    • Recruit and retain personal support LTC front-line workers through skill-building programs, initiatives to improved workplace culture and greater supports for settlement services for newcomers;
    • Implement various settlement and retention support initiatives to help address staffing challenges in the LTC sector; and
    • Improve training for staff across the entire LTC continuum. This will cover various aspects of care, such as dementia care, workplace safety, and cultural safety to improve the entire LTC system and meet the unique needs of seniors, including Indigenous people.
  • Increase the quality and safety of long-term care.
    • Upgrade critical equipment at LTC facilities, including ventilation systems, call bells, and beds in nursing homes;
    • Implement a funding program to purchase essential equipment in special care homes to support higher care needs to prevent premature entry into nursing homes; and
    • Pilot a flexible community care bed model at two special care home test sites to support aging in place and relieve hospital pressures.

Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which New Brunswick will publicly report on annually.

Through these new agreements, the Government of New Brunswick will work with the Government of Canada to improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; 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 based on need, not the ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the Governments of Canada and New Brunswick also commit to meaningfully engaging and working together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. New Brunswick’s action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and supported by the 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.

New Brunswick and the federal government will continue working together to improve health and long-term care services for all who need it across the province, including responding to the needs of Indigenous populations.


“Today’s announcement is another step in our government’s work to build the best public health care system for Canadians at every stage of their lives. When we work together and find solutions, we can achieve great results. These agreements will lead to better public health care for the people of New Brunswick through more access to doctors and nurses, better care for important surgeries like hip and knee procedures, and support for the care that seniors need.”

The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

must ensure that all Canadians have access to supports and services for their mental health and well-being – when they need them, wherever they need them.”

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

"I have seen first-hand the incredible dedication of our health care workers. Through these bilateral agreements, we are supporting them by modernizing the way that health care is delivered in New Brunswick, so that all New Brunswickers can more easily access the care they need.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs

"As former Minister of Health, I led the first bilateral agreement to enhance home and community care, mental health, and addiction services in New Brunswick. Today, we’re taking another crucial step towards our goal of providing tailored health care solutions for New Brunswickers. By working together, we're building a health care system that delivers the care every Canadian deserves.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“New Brunswick’s provincial health plan is delivering improvements to health care. From reducing the list of those waiting the longest for cataract, hip and knee surgeries, to ensuring access to care for those without a family doctor, we’re making improvements to our health-care system. We’re pleased that our made-in-New Brunswick solutions are now earning the support of the Government of Canada through this agreement.”

The Honourable Bruce Fitch
New Brunswick’s Minister of Health

“Mental health and substance use disorders are a concern for the people who struggle with them, for their loved ones and for our communities. The government of New Brunswick is working to increase the availability of addiction and mental health services across our province.”

The Honourable Sherry Wilson
New Brunswick’s Minister responsible for Addiction and Mental Health Services, Addiction and Women’s Equality

“New Brunswick is dedicated to emboldening seniors to age with dignity and in comfort, as close to home as possible. We thank the Federal Government for their recognition of our efforts and for supporting seniors and their families in our province.”

The Honourable Jill Green
New Brunswick’s Minister of Social Development

Quick facts

  • The Working Together investment includes $25 billion for tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, a guaranteed 5 per cent Canada Health Transfer (CHT) increase for the next five years -- estimated to amount 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 2023 outlined the Government of Canada's plan to invest close to $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 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. 
  • As part of the Working Together bilateral agreements, provinces and territories are developing action plans that outline how funds will be spent and how progress will be measured to demonstrate to Canadians that improvements are occurring in Canada’s health care system. New Brunswick’s initial three-year Action Plan can be found here.

  • 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 new Working Together bilateral agreements.

  • The Government is also working with provinces and territories to implement a second bilateral agreement focused on helping Canadians age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility. This agreement includes the remaining $2.4 billion ($600 million per year for fiscal years 2023-24 to 2026-27) over four years to improve access to home and community care from Budget 2017; and the $3 billion ($600 million per year for fiscal years 2023-24 to 2027-28) 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. New Brunswick’s five-year Action Plan can be found here.

Associated links


Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Yuval Daniel
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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