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Canadian premiers push for boost in health-care funding from Ottawa

Click to play video: 'Premier John Horgan joins other premiers to ask for more health-care funding' Premier John Horgan joins other premiers to ask for more health-care funding
There has been no greater strain on our healthcare system than the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C. Premier John Horgan is joining premiers from across the country to ask Ottawa for additional funding for health-care. Richard Zussman has more. – Feb 4, 2022

Canadian premiers have presented a unified plea to the federal government to increase Canada Health Transfer funding.

Following a meeting of the premiers, B.C. Premier and Canadian Council of the Federation chair John Horgan said Ottawa has fallen behind in the health-care support needed.

“We need a significant long-term financial update from the federal government to ensure the services people expect coming out of the pandemic are uniform from coast to coast to coast,” Horgan said.

“It holds true now more than ever. As premiers, we need to be accountable to the services we provide. And we are responsible to Canada health-care. We have seen an erosion of federal funding. This is not sustainable.”

Click to play video: 'Federal government’s ‘reluctance’ on engaging with the province to fix health-care system' Federal government’s ‘reluctance’ on engaging with the province to fix health-care system
Federal government’s ‘reluctance’ on engaging with the province to fix health-care system – Feb 4, 2022

Speaking to his own recent battle with cancer, Horgan said it is clear on the front lines of health care more financial support is needed.

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The federal government has created new partnerships with the provinces to provide childcare money and the premiers are asking for similar partnerships on health care funding.

“We are calling on the federal government to renew our partnership on public health care. It is as Canadian as health-care. But it needs an influx of cash. We need to find a way to support the reallocation of services,” Horgan said.

The Council of the Federation released a poll earlier this week by Leger with 56 per cent of respondents saying they believe the quality of health-care provided in their province or territory has worsened over the past five years.

Read more: Trudeau pressed on COVID-19 rapid tests, antiviral pills in call with premiers

Click to play video: 'Canadian premiers ask for a rebalancing of public health-care funds' Canadian premiers ask for a rebalancing of public health-care funds
Canadian premiers ask for a rebalancing of public health-care funds – Feb 4, 2022

“Even more Canadians believe that the pandemic has exacerbated these issues – 78 per cent believe the pandemic has had a large negative impact on Canada’s health-care systems,” the survey report reads.

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“Across all provinces, increased wait times and backlogs for surgery and other procedures and doctor/nursing shortages as a result of burnout are the top perceived negative impacts of the pandemic.”

The survey found 82 per cent of Canadians are worried about getting health services when they are needed and 87 per cent of Canadians agree an immediate increase in funding and resources is needed to help alleviate the considerable strain of the pandemic on their province or territory’s health-care system.

“Few Canadians (22 per cent) believe that the federal government currently provides an adequate amount of funding to provinces/territories to properly deliver health services to citizens and even fewer (10 per cent) believe this when they learn that funding has declined from 50 per cent to 22 per cent since 1960,” the survey report reads.

Click to play video: 'Premier Jason Kenney on adopting ‘common sense’ COVID-19 travel protocols in Canada' Premier Jason Kenney on adopting ‘common sense’ COVID-19 travel protocols in Canada
Premier Jason Kenney on adopting ‘common sense’ COVID-19 travel protocols in Canada – Feb 4, 2022

The survey also found 65 per cent of Canadians agree that their provincial or territorial government is best able to determine health-care spending needs in their province/territory compared to just 11 per cent who believe that the federal government is best able.

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