Insights | Blog
Provinces and territories quietly accept federal funding deal
After a week of posturing and bluster, provincial and territorial leaders quietly issued their acceptance of the federal deal to provide an additional $196 billion in health transfers over the next decade. This was welcomed by most stakeholders, who are now turning their attention to what is anticipated to be a brief negotiating process to wrap up bilateral funding arrangements on specific shared priorities, for which the provinces and territories must develop action plans. Federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos and intergovernmental affairs minister Dominic Leblanc have already begun their cross-country tours meeting with their provincial and territorial colleagues to kickstart that process.
On that, and more, here’s your weekly roundup.
- The Standing Committee on Health is anticipated to table its report, “Addressing Canada’s Health Workforce Crisis,” on its study of Canada’s Health Workforce, in the House of Commons soon.
- The Standing Committee on Health has been busy continuing its study on children’s health, which is anticipated to wrap up soon with a report to be drafted and tabled in the House of Commons later this session.
- The Special Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying tabled its report, Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: Choices for Canadians, calling on the federal government to expand MAID to include mature minors and those struggling with mental illness and mental health issues. For its part, the federal government has tabled legislation to delay the expansion of MAID where a person’s sole underlying condition is a mental illness (see below), so we do not anticipate the Committee’s report to lead to meaningful action in the short term.
- Treasury Board President Mona Fortier tabled the Main Estimates for 2023-2024. Attention will now turn to the federal budget, for which the government wrapped up consultations last Friday. The budget is anticipated to be delivered this spring.
IN THE HOUSE
- Bill C-293, An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness, sponsored by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, has been referred to the Standing Committee on Health.
- Ministers David Lametti (Justice), Duclos (Health), and Carolyn Bennett (Mental Health and Addictions) joined together to introduce Bill C-39 to extend the temporary exclusion of eligibility for MAID where a person’s sole medical condition is a mental illness until March 17, 2024. The government fast-tracked the legislation through the House of Commons, and it received First Reading in the Senate on Thursday, February 16. It is anticipated to be passed by the Senate quickly.
- Ministers Duclos (Health), Bennett (Mental Health and Addictions), and Marci Ien (Women and Gender Equality and Youth) issued a statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, remarking on the importance for all Canadians to stay informed and seek care to support their sexual and reproductive health when necessary. Of note, the federal government has formally endorsed the global declaration and call to action on the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) message, which challenges stigma by communicating the scientific consensus that HIV cannot be sexually transmitted when a person living with HIV who takes medication has an undetectable viral load. Canada continues to invest in front-line services and strategies to prevent infection and improve access to sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection treatment and care.
AROUND THE DOMINION
- Provincial and territorial leaders quietly communicated their approval of the federal proposal to significantly increase health transfers over 10 years following a week of posturing and bluster.
- The Government of Manitoba announced the launch of a task force to reduce red tape for physicians. The task force will identify unnecessary administrative burdens placed on physicians, set measurable goals and then work with relevant organizations to streamline or eliminate the excessive administrative burden faced by physicians. The task force will also provide guidance and recommendations on how to avoid creating excessive administrative burdens for physicians in the future.
- The Government of British Columbia announced it was making it easier for internationally trained nurses to work in their health system. Specifically, internationally educated nurses will no longer be required to pay application and assessment fees upfront, which cost more than $3,700. These fees will be covered directly by the Province in order to remove financial barriers for internationally educated workers who want to work in B.C.
February 17 | 2023