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Premiers call on Ottawa to increase health care funding in the coming budget


As the federal government puts together its budget, Canada’s premiers called on Ottawa again today to shoulder a larger share of health care costs.

Québec Premier François Legault, chair of the Council of the Federation, is hosting a news conference at 1 p.m. ET to outline the premiers’ case and will take questions. Other premiers will join virtually.

A spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the group will call on the prime minister to increase health care funding in the upcoming federal budget.

The Canada Health Transfer is the federal government’s primary contribution to covering the delivery of health services in the provinces and territories.

Right now, the provinces spend about $188 billion on health care and the federal government covers $42 billion — roughly 22 per cent of total costs. The premiers have asked for a permanent increase in the federal share to 35 per cent cent, which works out to an additional $28 billion.

The health transfer was the focus of a meeting between the premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late last year.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, right, speaks as Quebec Premier François Legault, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney look on during a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. The premiers will meet virtually today. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)


At the time, Trudeau promised to increase health care funding to the provinces — but not before the immediate pressure of the pandemic subsides.

“It’s going to be important that the federal government steps up and increases its share of the cost of health care with the Canada Health Transfer,” Trudeau said after the December meeting.

 “We are going to do that and I look forward to conversations over the coming months about how we can increase it.”

www.cbc.ca 2021-03-04 17:22:04

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