Provinces agree to accept new federal health funding offer

By The Canadian Press

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says the premiers have agreed to accept the health-care funding deal offered to them by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although they say it is far less than they wanted.

Stefanson is the current chair and spokeswoman of the premiers association known as the Council of the Federation.

The premiers met virtually today, nearly a week after Trudeau offered the provinces and territories another $46 billion on top of the planned federal health transfers over the next 10 years.

The offer was well shy of the premiers’ demand for Ottawa to increase its share of health spending from 22 per cent to 35 per cent.

Stefanson says the proposal amounts to about a two per cent increase.

Still, she says the provinces will accept the new money while continuing to work with Ottawa on a long-term plan to ensure the viability of Canada’s cherished health-care system.

Ottawa would also provide an immediate one-time $2 billion top-up for this year to help provinces ease the intense pressure on emergency rooms and children’s hospitals.

Another $25 billion would be given for targeted funding for family doctors, mental health, surgical backlogs and health data systems.

With files from Johm Marchesan

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