Improving health care
We are working to improve health care across the country. On February 7, 2023, we announced an investment of over $198 billion to help improve the health care system.
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Shared health priorities
Everyone deserves timely access to health care services when and where they need them. We are working with provinces and territories on 4 shared health priorities to improve health care for people in Canada:
- family health services
- so everyone has access to high-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities
- health workers and reducing backlogs
- so our health workforce is resilient and supported, to provide everyone high-quality, effective and safe health care services
- mental health and substance use services
- so everyone has access to timely, equitable and quality mental health, substance use and addictions services to support their well-being
- modernizing the health care system
- so everyone can access their own electronic health information
Another priority is helping people age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility. We are already working with provinces and territories to support access to home care and long-term care. This includes existing investments of $6 billion for home and community care and $4 billion to improve the quality and safety of long-term care. We also announced an additional $1.7 billion over 5 years to support wage increases for personal support workers and related professions.
Investments to improve health care
We will distribute these investments partly through the Canada Health Transfer and partly through tailor-made bilateral agreements with provinces and territories. In addition, we will invest in an Indigenous-specific funding stream, and other federal initiatives to support and improve the health care system.
Agreements in principle with provinces and territories
Canada Health Transfer
The Canada Health Transfer (CHT) is the largest major federal transfer to provinces and territories. We will provide further support through the CHT as:
- an immediate $2 billion CHT top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system, especially in pediatric hospitals, emergency rooms and long wait times for surgeries
- a guaranteed minimum 5% increase to the CHT for the next 5 years (expected value of $17.3 billion over 10 years), to be paid through annual top-up payments as required. The last top-up payment will be included in the CHT base at the end of the 5 years. This will ensure a permanent funding increase, providing certainty and sustainability to provinces and territories.
To access this funding, provincial and territorial governments will need to:
- improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to people in Canada
- adopt common standards and policies related to data
This investment includes $25 billion over 10 years to provinces and territories to advance 4 shared health priorities. Provinces and territories have unique needs based on their populations and geography. As such, these bilateral agreements will be flexible in order to address these unique needs.
The key principles of the bilateral agreements are:
- a shared responsibility to uphold the Canada Health Act that protects Canadians' access to health care
- principles agreed to in the 2017 Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities
- reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, recognizing their right to fair and equal access to health services free from racism and discrimination anywhere in Canada, including meaningful engagement and work with Indigenous organizations and governments
- equal access to health services for equity-seeking groups and individuals, including those in official language minority communities
As part of these agreements, provinces and territories will need to develop action plans that describe:
- how they will spend the funds
- what targets they will use
- how they will measure progress
Additionally, provinces and territories are being asked to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally-educated health professionals, and to advance labour mobility, starting with multi-jurisdictional credential recognition for key health professionals.
Indigenous health priorities
We will work with Indigenous partners to provide additional support for Indigenous health priorities:
- $2 billion over 10 years to address unique challenges Indigenous Peoples face when it comes to fair and equitable access to quality and culturally safe health care services. We will distribute the Indigenous-specific funding stream on a distinctions basis through a health equity fund.
Other federal initiatives
This investment also includes funding to support collaboration in areas such as immigration, credential recognition, official language minority communities and data infrastructure and standards:
- $505 million over 5 years to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Canada Health Infoway and federal data partners to work with provinces and territories to:
- develop new health data indicators
- support the creation of a Centre of Excellence on health worker data
- advance digital health tools and an interoperability roadmap
- support the use of data to improve safety and quality of care
- $175 million over 5 years for the Territorial Health Investment Fund to recognize medical travel and the cost of delivering health care in the territories.
- Prime Minister News Release: Working together to improve health care for Canadians
- Backgrounder: Working together to improve health care for Canadians
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