(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Bloomberg
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will commit C$46.2 billion ($34.4 billion) in new funding over the next decade to help prop up Canada's health-care system, which is struggling to keep up with demand.
Some C$17.3 billion of the money will be used to guarantee annual increases of at least 5% to the Canada Health Transfer for the next five years. Trudeau is also promising an immediate C$2 billion top-up to that fund.
The transfer currently increases by at least 3% each year, although it can be higher because it tracks the three-year average of nominal GDP growth. In the fiscal year that began last April, the transfer rose to C$45.2 billion, or 9.4% of total federal program expenses.
'As Canadians, we place a lot of value in our universal, public health care system,” the government said in a statement. 'Unfortunately, it hasn't been living up to expectations.”
Trudeau is also promising C$25 billion over 10 years for side deals with provinces on priority areas, including mental health services, health-worker shortages and modernizing health systems.
The new funding was announced Tuesday afternoon as Trudeau wrapped up a meeting with the premiers of Canada's provinces, who have jurisdiction over delivering health care in Canada.
The premiers had been calling for a raise in federal health funding of C$28 billion per year - substantially above what the federal government is offering. However, federal officials have argued the provinces aren't taking into account the extra taxing power they were given in the 1970s to boost health-care funding.
In exchange for the new funding, the federal government said that it's asking provinces to commit to 'improving how health information is collected, shared, used, and reported to Canadians to promote greater transparency on results.”
Overall, total federal funding for health is projected to grow by C$196.1 billion over 10 years, the government said. That includes other funding promises made over the past few years, as well as the automatic increases to the Canada Health Transfer already built into the system.
'The health care system and the workers who uphold it are under enormous strain, a situation that was exacerbated by the pandemic, and needs immediate action to deliver better health care for Canadians,” the federal government said.