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Premiers call on Ottawa to increase health-care spending


At the first Council of the Federation meeting of territorial and provincial leaders since B.C. Premier John Horgan announced he had throat cancer, the topic was health-care funding.

The leaders say Ottawa's share has steadily been decreasing, and they want the federal contribution to health-care costs – a joint responsibility of federal and provincial governments – to reach 35 per cent.

At a news conference Friday, Horgan referenced his recent cancer treatments.

"Pandemic or no pandemic, those health-care professionals provide a quality service that is not sustainable in its current model. I saw that on the faces of nurses, on doctors, health-care providers, care aides," Horgan said.

Premiers and territorial leaders say more money for health care could be used to reduce wait times, hire more doctors and nurses, and improve technologies. Horgan says his recent battle with cancer gave him a front-row seat to how stressed the health-care system is.

A news release from the council said, in part, that a meeting with the Prime Minister was needed.

"The pandemic’s impact has made it even more pressing to focus on health system improvements and sustainability, and provinces and territories are making significant health care investments,” the release said. “Premiers invite the Prime Minister to work with them and begin negotiations without further delay so that a First Ministers’ Agreement on Sustainable Health Care Funding can be finalized in the coming weeks."

So far, there's been no indication from Ottawa that a change to health-care transfers is coming. Top Stories

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