Ontario and the federal government have come to an agreement in principle regarding health care, the province announced on Thursday. The 10-year deal was accepted by the province on Wednesday, after adding reviews to ensure long-term sustainability. The deal includes $8.4 billion in new funding plus a one-time top-up of $776 million to address urgent needs such as long wait times for surgeries, pediatric hospitals, and emergency rooms.
This additional funding will help bolster Ontario’s investments in health care, as the province implements its plan for connected and convenient care. The deal will also allow for further discussions on how the new money will be spent, with priority areas outlined including mental health, primary care, and increasing the number of healthcare workers.
The federal government is working on separate bilateral deals with provinces and territories to address specific needs in each jurisdiction. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos stated that the agreement with Ontario will modernize the health care system, improve access to family health services and mental health services, reduce surgical backlogs, and support health workers, ultimately resulting in a better quality of care and helping Canadians live longer healthier lives.
Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, had proposed incorporating reviews into the deal, and the federal government quickly agreed to a formal review process. The two sides agreed to review the bilateral funding deals made in 2017 to upgrade mental health and home care programs, as well as the new deal.
Overall, this deal is a step towards establishing long-term predictability and stability in health care, addressing the needs of underserved groups, and strengthening the public health system in Canada.