Canada's premiers are asking the federal government for more health care funding, saying an increase would help transform the existing health care system and offset the impact of an aging population.

A statement from Premier Paul Davis of Newfoundland and Labrador says the premiers are asking Ottawa to increase the Canada Health Transfer to cover at least 25 per cent of all health-care spending by the provinces and territories.

The statement released by Davis's office after Thursday's Council of the Federation meeting in St. John's says that each province and territory faces similar challenges, including increased overall health care costs, a rising need for home and palliative care and support for "informal" caregivers.

"Premiers discussed the ... growing financial pressures population aging will have on their governments, particularly regarding health care," reads the statement. "These financial pressures reinforce the need for the federal government to increase its funding for health care."

An emailed statement from Health Minister Rona Ambrose's office says the Conservatives have transferred the highest amounts in history to the provinces and territories for health care and are on track to reach $40 billion annually by the end of the decade.

It says Ottawa will provide $27 billion for health care over the next five years, and health funding was being increased at a higher rate than the provinces were spending it.

Outside the meeting, a small demonstration called attention to medicare funding.

Debbie Forward, president of the Registered Nurses Union of Newfoundland and Labrador, said the federal government is not paying its fair share for health care.

Forward said a report released Thursday by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions estimates that proposed federal funding changes could drain more than $43 billion from the health system over the next eight years.