July 17, 2015 (St. John’s) – Canada’s Premiers strongly support Canada’s nurses’ call for the federal government to commit to increase the Canada Health Transfer to a minimum of 25% of all health care spending by provinces and territories. In a statement on Providing Services for an Aging Population, the Council of the Federation called for the federal government to increase its share of commitment to health care for Canadians.
The statement from the premiers followed a briefing by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), revealing a new study showing that reductions in federal health transfers are greater than first feared, leading to a greater strain on provinces already struggling to sustain Canada’s public health care system. The report, The Canada Health Transfer Disconnect: An Aging Population, Rising Health Care Costs and a Shrinking Federal Role in Funding, was written by Hugh Mackenzie and argues that these changes mean federal support for health care will drop from the current range of 22-23% to 19% by 2024-2025, cutting over $43.5 billion in health care transfers over this period, compared to the previous Health Accord transfers. During the briefing premiers heard Mackenzie and former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page outlining that the previously estimated $36 billion funding shortfall had jumped to $43.5 billion because of lower GDP growth estimates which the federal government has linked to health transfers.
“We are pleased that the premiers heard this call from Canada’s nurses and pushed back on the damaging position taken by this Conservative government,” said CFNU President, Linda Silas. “Our health care system and frontline health care workers need the resources to provide quality care for Canadian patients, and we need political commitment and leadership on health care.”
The Council of the Federation wraps up its meeting this afternoon, with health care consistently being an issue of concern. The Conservative government has not met with Canada’s premiers to discuss health care or to negotiate an agreement going forward as was done in the 2004 Health Accord.
“Canadians deserve to know where their politicians stand during an election year, and Canada’s nurses will continue to be active to press all political parties to state their intentions before October’s election” said Silas. “It is heartening to see premiers from all political parties take this stand on health care, health care is not a partisan issue.”
Report author Hugh Mackenzie is available for technical briefings to media.
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization representing close to 200,000 nurses and student nurses. The CFNU has been advocating for national discussions on key health priorities, such as a national prescription drug plan, a comprehensive approach to long-term and continuing care, greater attention to health human resources, and federal government engagement on the future of public health care.
Contact: Anil Naidoo, CFNU, 613-986-5409, firstname.lastname@example.org