Quebec responds with a resounding 'no' to Ottawa's conditions for health funding

Quebec is easing restrictions on residents in long-term care homes that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The Quebec National Assembly has unanimously rejected Ottawa's plan to impose conditions on the provinces to access increased federal funding for seniors' shelters.

In supporting a motion tabled by the minister responsible for seniors, Marguerite Blais, Quebec parliamentarians from all parties expressed their opposition to the project included in the budget statement presented on Monday by federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

The motion is a stark reminder for the federal government that health is an "area of exclusive jurisdiction in Quebec."

The Trudeau government's plan is to impose national standards on the provinces regarding the quality of care provided in residential and long-term care centres for the elderly.

The idea would be to make the financial assistance granted by Ottawa conditional on compliance with these standards.

By the same token, the federal government is committing to paying up to $1 billion over two years to the provinces -- if they agree to present "detailed expenditure plans" and if they demonstrate that the amounts invested correspond to the planned plans.

According to Ottawa's views, the provinces could, for example, use the sums promised to hire more staff, increase salaries, evaluate their infection prevention and control measures in CHSLDs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters