Five things to know about Ontario, Quebec, Alberta health deals with Ottawa

Five things to know about Ontario, Quebec, Alberta health deals with Ottawa

OTTAWA — Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta have inked health care arrangements with the Trudeau government following months of negotiations.

Ottawa was keen to see targeted investments in home care and mental health outside of the Canadian Health Transfer — a mechanism to deliver federal dollars to the provinces and territories.

Here are five things to know about the new deals announced Friday.

1. Alberta’s deal:

Over the next decade, Alberta will receive an additional $1.3 billion — $703.2 million for home care and $586 million to support mental health initiatives. The federal government says the spending will reduce wait times for mental health services for children and youth. Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said it will help the province make a difference in the lives of mental health patients. She said it also means Albertans will be able to receive care closer to home, which will alleviate pressure on the hospital system.

2. Alberta also getting money for opioid crisis

Ottawa announced an additional $6 million support for Alberta to help it respond to the opioid crisis. Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott noted Alberta, like British Columbia, has been disproportionately affected by overdose deaths. British Columbia earlier got $10 million to deal with opioids.

3. Ontario’s deal

The federal government will provide an additional $4.2 billion to Ontario over the next decade — $2.3 billion earmarked for better home care and $1.9 billion for mental health projects. Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said the money will help support key priorities, including improving community care, mental health and addiction services.

4. Quebec’s deal

Quebec’s deal involves an additional $2.52 billion in funds targeted toward home care and mental health. Premier Philippe Couillard said the agreement recognizes the province’s “distinct” character and allows Quebec to use federal transfers as it sees fit.

5. Canada Health Transfer

In addition to targeted investments in home care and mental health for each province, the bilateral deals set the rate of increase on federal health transfers to the provinces at three per cent or at the rate of increase in nominal gross domestic product, whichever is higher. This rate of increase is half of the six per cent annual increase set out in the last national health accord — a 10-year, $41-billion arrangement established in 2004 under former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin.

The Canadian Press

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