Provinces, federal government fail to make progress on health care funding

After more than two days of meeting, provincial health ministers and the federal health minister have been unable to come up with next steps on health care funding.

In a statement from the Council of the Federation, released while the ministers were still meeting, the organization representing premiers expressed disappointment with the lack of a federal response on the critical issue of sustainable health funding.

The provinces have been asking the federal government to agree to a meeting that would include Prime Minister Justine Trudeau and the premiers.

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The premiers say despite ‘repeated invitations’ and efforts by premiers to engage with the Prime Minister, he has not engaged in a meaningful dialogue.

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Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and BC Health Minister Adrian Dix are both expected to have a press conference this afternoon.

Currently, the federal government covers 22 per cent of health care spending and the provinces are asking for this to increase to 35 per cent.

“Provinces and territories are working hard to improve the health services that Canadians rely on that have been under heavy strain through the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement from the Council of the Federation reads.

“Substantive resources are required to support and accelerate this essential work, and provinces and territories need a predictable federal funding partner.”

Click to play video: 'Provincial health ministers gather for meetings in Vancouver'

Provincial health ministers gather for meetings in Vancouver

The provincial health ministers were optimistic they could make some inroads on negotiations that have seemingly hit a roadblock.

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On Monday, federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos told reporters Ottawa is willing to provide additional health-care dollars to provinces and territories.

In exchange, the jurisdictions must commit to expanding the use of common key health indicators and to building a “world-class” health data system for the country.

Click to play video: 'Triple health-care threat for B.C. children'

Triple health-care threat for B.C. children

The federal government has also not ruled out working with individual provinces on health care funding.

The premiers are still optimistic about working with federal counterparts to discuss supporting immigration of trained health professionals, but noted the federal government’s primary role in supporting health care is with long-term, sustainable funding through the Canadian Health Transfers.

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Ottawa willing to increase flow of health-care cash to provinces on 2 conditions

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“The prime minister must meet with premiers to ensure provinces and territories have the resources and flexibility they need to make significant improvements in health care services and to deliver the care that Canadians deserve,” Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said in a release.

“Canadians should be able to receive high quality health services now and for the future. It is time for the Prime Minister to honour his commitment and come to the table.”

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