The head of a national non-profit group is warning that Newfoundland and Labrador could lose millions in federal health care dollars.

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, says Canadians don't realize medicare is at risk. (CBC)

Maude Barlow, who chairs the Council of Canadians, says the Harper government will quietly reduce federal health care funding starting 2016.

Barlow estimates that Newfoundland and Labrador will lose $500-million a year, or roughly $1,000 per person. 

"It is really, in my opinion, the beginning of the end of medicare if we allow this to happen," she said.

"But most Canadians don't even know it happened and, so far, it is not an election issue because it doesn't kick in until after the 2015 election," she said.

"So we're trying to tell Canadians this is what it means to you — and to tell Newfoundlanders specifically this is what's going to be removed from your health care dollars."

Barlow said the Council of Canadians, which describes itself as an advocacy group aimed at holding governments and corporations accountable, is blaming the federal government for allowing the Canada Health Accord to expire.

The 10-year-old, $41-billion dollar deal between Ottawa and the provinces and territories provided stable funding and set common goals on wait times, home care and prescription drugs.

Barlow is worried that a reduction in health care spending would lead to the privatization of many medical services. She is concerned that will result in a patchwork of different health care standards across the country.

"We want to really get the word out to Canadians," she said.


  • A prior version of this story had referred to health care spending cuts as having been in effect. In fact, the federal government is not increasing funding at the same rate it's been increased over recent years.
    Dec 02, 2014 6:22 PM NT