PM Trudeau presents premiers $196B health-care funding deal, including $46B in new funding


The federal government is pledging to increase health funding to Canada's provinces and territories by $196.1 billion over the next 10 years, in a long-awaited deal aimed at addressing Canada's crumbling health-care systems with $46.2 billion in new funding.

This new cross-Canada offer includes both increases to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) as well as working on bilateral deals with each province and territory, with an expectation that in order to access new federal dollars, provincial and territorial governments have to commit to new transparency and accountability requirements.

Here's what the federal government has put on the table:

  • An immediate national and "unconditional" $2-billion top-up to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to address urgent pressures being experienced at pediatric hospitals and in emergency and operating rooms;
  • A five per cent increase to the CHT over the next five years provided through the annual top-up, reaching an additional $17.3 billion over 10 years;
  • $25 billion over 10 years for decade-long bilateral deals with each province and territory tailored to their health-care needs, but connected to shared priorities such as family health access, investing in mental health and substance abuse services; and modernizing the health information system;
  • $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions as levels of government work together on retaining, recruiting, and recognizing the credentials of health-care workers;
  • $150 million over five years for the Territorial Health Investment Fund to help cover medical travel and the cost of health care delivery in the North; and
  • $2 billion over 10 years aimed at addressing the access challenges uniquely faced by Indigenous people.

"These additional federal investments will be contingent on continued health care investments by provinces and territories. This funding builds on the $7.8 billion over five years that has yet to flow to provinces and territories for mental health and substance use, home and community care, and long-term care," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office in a statement unveiling the details.

Trudeau— accompanied by a handful of ministers—has spent the last two hours presenting this proposal to his provincial and territorial counterparts at the first in-person meeting of all First Ministers since the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the prime minister met the premiers behind closed doors, federal officials provided reporters a technical briefing on the plan.

Ahead of the meeting, Trudeau said that while Canadians are proud of the universal public health-care system, it hasn't been delivering up to the level expected.

From staffing shortages and a cold-weather surge of illnesses compounding extended wait times in emergency rooms, to hundreds of thousands of surgeries and medical procedures backlogged due in part to COVID-19 cancellations, there have been steady calls from those in the sector for urgent action as Canada's population continues to grow and age.

"Obviously it's been a tough few years, but there's a need for support now, and better results for Canadians now, but also into the coming years," Trudeau said, briefly stopping to speak with reporters as he arrived for the meeting.


Neither Trudeau nor the premiers plan to walk out of today's "working meeting" with deals in hand. Rather, now that this offer is on the table, premiers will have to work out how the plan will work in their jurisdiction.

There have been indications that some provinces such as Ontario appear ready to sign on the dotted line in short order, while other provinces such Quebec may take more time before agreeing to any new accord, depending on how they feel about federal conditions being imposed on how the new money will be spent.

Overall there was a sense of optimism coming from the premiers—who put their heads together ahead of their meeting with Trudeau—that the two sides finally were able to meet to discuss how to address Canada's strained health-care systems.

“I think this is a great first step. We've been asking the prime minister to come to the table, he's at the table,” Ford said on his way into Tuesday’s meeting. “This is about certainty and sustainability. It's about building a health-care system across this country, not for five years, not for 10 years, but for decades to come.”

The premiers’ longstanding ask has been for the federal government to increase the share of Canada's health-care costs that they cover, from the current 22 per cent to 35 per cent. This deal does not satisfy this demand.

While it remains to be seen how premiers will take this—not receiving an annual $28 billion funding increase— there had been strong signals in the weeks leading up to today that this would be the case and it hadn't sparked much consternation.

Chair of the Council of the Federation and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson told reporters on Tuesday morning that, while this has been their years-long request, the premiers' goal is "to ensure that we have predictable and stable long-term funding put into the baseline of the Canada Health Transfer to ensure… that predictable, stable long-term funding for Canadians."

With both federal and provincial governments working on drafting their 2023 budgets, the expectation is the details will need to be worked out after Tuesday’s meetings, but in time for the funding to be accounted for in the upcoming fiscal plans.

"We have done a lot of work to prepare for this meeting," said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc on his way into Tuesday morning's cabinet meeting.

Leblanc, who alongside Duclos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett took part in today's meeting, predicted it was "going to be a great day."


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