Government of Canada and BC announce agreement to improve health-care services through $3.3 billion


LANGLEY, BC: 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.

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are taking the next step by announcing an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $27.47 billion in federal funding over 10 years in British Columbia including $3.32 billion for a new bilateral agreement focusing on the shared health care priorities and $273 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.

Prime Minister Justine Trudeau made the announcement during his visit at Kwantlen University Campus in Langley in presence of BC’s premier David Eby and many other local MPs and MLAs from the region. “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 for provinces and territories 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,” he said.

By reaching an agreement in principle, Canada and British Columbia are committing to the plan laid out on February 7, 2023, which includes shared commitments to collect, use and share depersonalized health information and to inform Canadians of their progress with key common headline indicators.

This will further help provide British Columbians 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 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.

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 the shared health priorities in each jurisdiction.

As part of this collaborative health plan, Canada will work with British Columbia to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance labour mobility for key health professionals.

Furthermore, British Columbia 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.

“After months of negotiations, we welcome this positive step by the federal government, which will assist the significant actions already underway to improve health-care services in B.C., including improving access to cancer care, primary care, seniors care, acute care and mental-health and substance-use services for British Columbians,” said BC’s premier David Eby.

“The agreement in principle supports shared health-care priorities such as expanding access to primary health care including in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities; reducing waitlists; supporting our health-care workers; improving access to quality mental health and substance use services; and modernizing health systems with health data and digital tools.