ARCHIVED - 2003 First Ministers Health Accord

To meet its commitments under the 2003 First Ministers Health Accord, the government of Canada will provide a $17.3 billion increase in health care funding over the next three years, which will rise to $34.8 billion over five years. We will:

  • create a 5-year $16 billion Health Reform Fund targeted to primary health care, home care and catastrophic drug coverage;
  • create a new Canada Health Transfer (CHT) by April 1, 2004 to enhance transparency and accountability and ensure predictable annual increases in health transfers. Subject to a review of progress toward achieving the agreed upon reforms and following the First Ministers Meeting, the Health Reform Fund will be rolled into the CHT by March 31, 2008;
  • Immediately invest $2.5 billion in the CHST to relieve existing pressures;
  • establish a $1.5 billion Diagnostic/Medical Equipment Fund to improve access to publicly funded diagnostic services;
  • provide an additional $600 million to continue development of secure electronic patient records, which are vital to quality care and patient safety;
  • provide $500 million for research hospitals through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
  • The federal government is prepared to put up to an additional $2 billion into health for the provinces at the end of fiscal year 2003-04 if the Minister of Finance determines during the month of January that there will be a sufficient surplus above the normal contingency reserve to permit such an investment.
  • The Federal government will extend transfers for 2007-08 and provide an additional $1.8 billion in new money. As a result, transfers will increase by $9.5 billion over the next five years.

On February 20, 2003 the Government of Canada also agreed to provide a total of $60 million in funding over the next five years to the three northern territories, in addition to the per capita funding announced at the 2003 First Minister's Meeting. This is intended to take into account the unique circumstances facing Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories with respect to funding health care in the North.

Further initiatives

The Accord also supports initiatives to advance patient safety, health human resources, technology assessment, innovation and research, and healthy living.


Annual reporting to Canadians will be facilitated by the creation of a Health Council made up of Canadians, representatives of both orders of government and experts. Their work will enable Canadians to assess health system performance and the pace of implementation of the Accord. To improve reporting, the Accord contains clear objectives and a commitment to achieving comparable indicators on health system performance.

Working toward change

This Accord marks a turning point in our efforts to renew health care for the 21 st century. Change will take time. The Accord builds on and accelerates the work agreed to in September 2000 and the important reforms all governments have already made to improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of the public health care system.

Today, we have taken an important step to strengthen and renew our health care system and help Canadians maintain and protect their health.

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