March 22, 2023

Justin Trudeau has summoned the premiers to Ottawa on February 7 for what may well be the final summit meeting on the long-awaited increase in health transfers before a final agreement is reached.

• Read also: Health transfers between Ottawa and the provinces: a 10-year agreement on the horizon

Without confirming whether he would agree to increase the federal contribution from 22% to 35%, as the provinces wish, Mr. Trudeau declared that an “appropriate amount” will be on the table.

“We’re sure we’re going to have discussions on that, that’s for sure, but for us, the big concern has never been just the amount of money,” said the Prime Minister on Wednesday at the end of his meeting. a three-day retreat with his practice in Hamilton, Ontario.

The government’s primary concern, as Mr. Trudeau reiterated on Wednesday, is “to ensure that the emphasis is on results.”

“Sending money is definitely part of the solution, and we’re going to do that. But funding alone will not solve the problems we see. Canadians need to see improvements and better results […]”, he said.

Remember that this is not a one-time investment, but recurring funding under an agreement which, according to a source in Ottawa, could be spread over a period of ten years.

Even if there have been “tremendous investments” in health systems since the COVID-19 pandemic, these have not always translated “into better results”, pleaded the Prime Minister.

In terms of the improvements to which he refers, Mr. Trudeau mentioned the possibility for Canadians to access their computerized medical records.

Moreover, he made it clear that, in addition to the global agreement, certain components could be adapted according to the needs of the provinces.

“Yes, there are agreements that will be an agreement for everyone, but also elements that will directly respond to the specific needs, the specific priorities of the provinces,” said the Prime Minister.

With his announcement on Wednesday, the Prime Minister pulls the rug out from under the feet of the provincial premiers, who had already announced their intention to meet in the federal capital sometime in mid-February.

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