Canada’s premiers sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday requesting the establishment of regular reviews as part of health-care funding talks, expressing their belief that the system needs predictability. Although the federal government has offered more than $46 billion to provinces and territories to augment the Canada Health Transfer, the premiers expressed their “disappointment” with the amount.
In the letter, the premiers noted their willingness to accept the offer for the time being, but emphasized the need for further discussions to ensure longer-term predictability and stability in health care. They proposed a formal federal-provincial-territorial review process to examine the 2017 bilateral agreements between the provinces and Ottawa to upgrade mental health and home care programs, as well as a review of the new deal, which includes an increase to the annual Canada Health Transfer and funding for priority areas such as family doctors, surgical backlogs, and health data systems.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also wrote a separate letter on Thursday, making similar requests and specifying that the review of the 2017 bilateral agreements should take place by March 31, 2026, and that the larger review should happen around the five-year mark of the Canada Health Transfer deal. Ford proposed that the review consider the results seen up to that point in family health services, health workers and backlogs, mental health and substance use, and health system modernization. He concluded his letter by expressing his hope that an agreement can be swiftly reached to ensure the health-care system can meet the needs of Ontarians both now and in the future.