The Government of Canada and Ontario Reach Agreement in Principle to Improve Health Services for Canadians

February 23, 2023 | Ottawa, Ont. | Health Canada

Canada’s universal, accessible and publicly funded healthcare is a point of pride for Canadians. However, health workers across Canada are under enormous strain to deliver the care that Canadian patients deserve. Immediate, collaborative, action is needed to deliver better health care for Canadians.

On February 7, 2023, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $198.6 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding, to improve health care services for Canadians. This funding includes an immediate, unconditional $2 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system.

Today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are taking the next step by announcing an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $73.97 billion in federal funding over 10 years in Ontario, including $8.413 billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on the four shared health care priorities and $776 million through the immediate, one-time CHT top-up to address urgent needs, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. This will further help provide Ontarians with improvements in health care that includes:

  • access to high-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities;
  • a resilient and supported health workforce that provides them with high-quality, effective, and safe health care services;
  • access to timely, equitable, and quality mental health, substance use and addictions services; and
  • access to their own electronic health information that is shared between the health professionals they consult.

Helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility is another shared health priority where collaborative work is already underway.

By reaching an agreement in principle, Canada and Ontario are committing to the plan laid out on February 7, 2023, which includes shared commitments to collect, use and share health information and to inform Canadians of their progress with key common headline indicators. Work will now begin on a bilateral agreement based on an initial 3-year action plan that will detail targets, timelines and additional common indicators related to shared health priorities in each jurisdiction.

As part of this collaborative health plan, Canada will work with Ontario to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance labor mobility for key health professionals. Furthermore, Ontario commits to an integrated, inclusive approach to investments in health service teams, the health workforce, and data and digital tools that will help to meet the health and mental health needs of Canadians.

We will fulfill our shared responsibility to uphold the Canada Health Act that protects Canadians’ access to health care that is based on need and not ability to pay. We recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to fair and equal access to quality and culturally safe health services free from racism and discrimination anywhere in Canada.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we showed that we can work together to tackle big challenges. We will work to deliver outcomes for Canadians and improve the health care system that Canadians value and depend on.

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