The federal and provincial governments have an agreement in principle for healthcare.
On February 7, the federal government offered to invest $198.6-billion over ten years in healthcare transfer payments to the provinces and territories. That included $46.2-billion in new money and an immediate $2-billion Canada Health Transfer to address pressures on the system.
Under Thursday's plan, Ottawa will invest $73.97-billion over ten years in Ontario's healthcare system, including $8.41-billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on shared healthcare priorities like mental health care, primary care, and data sharing. It also includes $776-million in top-up funding to cut long wait times for surgeries and address staffing shortages at pediatric hospitals and emergency departments.
"This additional funding will bolster Ontario's investments in healthcare as we implement our plan for connected and convenient care," said Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos added, "It will modernize our healthcare system, improve access to family health services and mental health services, reduce surgical backlogs and support health workers."
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett said the funding would help integrate mental health and substance use care into the universal healthcare system.
"This agreement will help to provide greater access to mental health services, reduce substance use harms, and lower stigma," she said.
In return, Ontario agrees to be accountable for the funding by collecting health data and informing residents how it is progressing to address challenges in the health system. The two governments will work on a three-year action plan with targets and timelines.
The federal government will also work with Ontario to streamline the process recognizing foreign credentials for internationally trained health professionals.
The provinces lobbied the federal government to boost healthcare transfer payments to 35 per cent of the cost. It was at 22 per cent. The agreement will bring federal funding to 24 per cent.