THE Government of Canada and British Columbia announced on Wednesday an agreement in principle to improve health-care services across B.C. through $3.3 billion over 10 years of new bilateral funding focusing on shared health-care priorities, and $273 million through the immediate, one-time Canada Health Transfer top-up to address urgent needs, especially in emergency rooms and pediatric hospitals, as well as long wait times for surgeries.
Premier David Eby, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside said in a statement: “After months of negotiations, we welcome this positive step by the federal government, which will assist the significant actions already underway to improve health-care services in B.C., including improving access to cancer care, primary care, seniors care, acute care and mental-health and substance-use services for British Columbians.
“The agreement in principle supports shared health-care priorities such as expanding access to primary health care including in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities; reducing waitlists; supporting our health-care workers; improving access to quality mental health and substance use services; and modernizing health systems with health data and digital tools.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada on furthering B.C.’s health-care priorities and building a health-care system that people can count on.”
The federal government said in a press release: “The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are taking the next step by announcing an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $27.47 billion in federal funding over 10 years in British Columbia including $3.32 billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on the shared health care priorities and $273 million through the immediate, one-time CHT top-up to address urgent needs, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. This will further help provide British Columbians with improvements in health care.”
It added: “By reaching an agreement in principle, Canada and British Columbia are committing to the plan laid out on February 7, 2023, which includes shared commitments to collect, use and share depersonalized health information and to inform Canadians of their progress with key common headline indicators. Work will now begin on a bilateral agreement based on an initial three-year action plan that will detail targets, timelines and additional common indicators related to the shared health priorities in each jurisdiction.
“As part of this collaborative health plan, Canada will work with British Columbia to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance labour mobility for key health professionals. Furthermore, British Columbia commits to an integrated, inclusive approach to investments in health service teams, the health workforce, and data and digital tools that will help to meet the health and mental health needs of Canadians.”