B.C. and federal governments sign agreement to improve health-care services

Adrian Dix
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

THE governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed a bilateral agreement outlining how the Province plans to invest its share of targeted federal funding. The agreement represents a shift in how the federal and provincial governments work together to advance shared health priorities, it was announced on Friday.

With support from the federal government, the B.C. government will invest in a range of initiatives to expand home and community care, and mental-health and addiction services. These include:

* improving the integration of specialized community care programs and primary care networks for adults and seniors with complex medical conditions;

* improving access to, and the responsiveness and quality of, community-based palliative care; and

* implementing a series of early action initiatives designed to take immediate action to address the most-pressing service gaps and pave the way for the Province’s new mental-health and addictions strategy.

Through this agreement, B.C. will invest approximately $394 million in targeted federal funding for home and community care and $262 million for mental health and addictions over five years, as part of a 10-year federal financial commitment of approximately $1.4 billion.

These activities are fully aligned with the objectives and the pan-Canadian priorities set out in the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities endorsed by the federal government, provinces and territories in August 2017.

Adrian Dix, B.C. Health Minister said: “This agreement will provide timely access to home and community care. The goal for seniors is to live healthier and to enjoy better quality of life. Together with the federal government, we are making sure individuals and families have access to quality public health care when they need it.”

Judy Darcy, B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, added: “As Canada’s first Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, we are creating a system of care where you ask for help once and get help fast. As we develop our comprehensive mental-health and addictions strategy, greater access to services and supports for children and youth, working with our First Nations partners and responding to the overdose emergency are the priorities. The key in addressing long ignored service gaps is early intervention and prevention. This investment supports actions underway to create a seamless system of care for all British Columbians.”