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Premiers urge Trudeau to agree to regular health funding reviews

Ottawa has offered more than $46 billion to augment the Canada Health Transfer
Ontario Premier Doug Ford tours a laboratory in Brampton, Ont., on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Canada’s premiers have written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for regular reviews to be established as part of health-care funding talks.

Ottawa has offered more than $46 billion to provinces and territories to augment the Canada Health Transfer but the country’s premiers say it’s not enough to address the sustainability or structural needs of their provincial health care systems.

The premiers say in a letter sent Friday that they are prepared to accept the offer for now but further discussions are needed to establish longer-term predictability and stability in health care.

They want a formal federal-provincial-territorial review process to look at bilateral funding deals the provinces made with Ottawa in 2017 to upgrade mental health and home care programs.

They want a similar process to review the new deal which will include both a bump to the annual Canada Health Transfer and specific funding for priority areas like family doctors, surgical backlogs and health data systems.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford sent a separate letter today urging the same reviews, but specifying that the review of the 2017 bilateral agreements should happen by March 31, 2026 and that the broader review should happen around the five-year mark of the Canada Health Transfer deal.

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