Trudeau lays out $196-billion, 10-year health-care deal to premiers

Feds offer $196B over 10 yrs

UPDATE 12:35 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will increase federal health-care transfers to the provinces by $196 billion over the next 10 years, though only about one-quarter of that is new, previously unexpected money.

Trudeau is making the offer to the premiers today at a meeting in Ottawa.

He says it will include an immediate and unconditional top-up of $2 billion to the Canada Health Transfer to ease the intense pressure on hospitals.

The proposal includes a promise to increase the annual Canada Health Transfer over the next decade by another $17 billion above previous commitments.

As well, $25 billion will be sent over 10 years through one-on-one agreements with each province for four priority areas including family medicine, surgical backlogs, mental health and modernizing data-collection systems.

Trudeau says the one-one-one agreements can be flexible but provinces will have to show plans for how they will spend money and how they will measure progress in those areas.

ORIGINAL 6:30 a.m.

Canada's health care system is not working as well as it should and that has to change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday as he prepared to meet the premiers to work on a new health-care funding deal.

On his way into the cabinet meeting he will chair ahead of his afternoon talks with the premiers, Trudeau said the federal government will be "investing significantly" to upgrade the system. He plans to show the premiers the offer Ottawa is prepared to make when he meets with them in Ottawa today.

Canadians are proud of the public health-care system in this country, he said, but it needs work.

"We all have to recognize it hasn't been delivering at the level that Canadians would expect," he said.

"We will be stepping up with even more funding."

The provinces budgeted about $204 billion for health care in this fiscal year and the Canada Health Transfer was set at $45 billion, or about 22 per cent of that. The premiers want the federal share to increase to 35 per cent.

A senior federal official with knowledge of the federal offer said there will be both a bigger increase to the transfer and offers of more money for one-on-one deals to address province's individual needs and Ottawa's priorities.

On Tuesday, Trudeau listed getting more family doctors, shorter waiting lists, support to recruit and retrain workers and improving mental health care as some of those possible areas.

The federal government is also insisting the provinces agree to overhaul their health system data collection so patients' medical records are more complete and accessible across provinces and to multiple health professionals, and so governments can better understand where problems exist.

The premiers have been in Ottawa since Monday meeting on their own at a downtown hotel and aim to have a unified front when they sit down with Trudeau. They said they are going into the talks with an open mind, no red line and a willingness to sign one-on-one agreements with Ottawa for more money.

British Columbia Premier David Eby says bilateral agreements will be a big part of the negotiations, but the core goal is to get Canadians the health care they deserve.

The Canada Health Transfer is currently set to increase to $49.4 billion in 2023-24, a nine per cent increase over this year, which is twice the average annual increase over the last six years.

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