Alberta, Ottawa sign health-care funding deal worth $24B over 10 years
'This is a productive first step,' Premier Danielle Smith says of agreement
Alberta has become the seventh province to sign an agreement in principle with Ottawa on health-care funding.
The federal government said in a news release Monday that more than $24 billion is to be invested in Alberta's health-care system over the next 10 years.
That includes $2.9 billion for a new bilateral agreement focused on shared health priorities and $233 million in an immediate, one-time top up to the Canada Health Transfer to address urgent needs, which include help for pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, as well as addressing long wait times for surgeries.
The deal also aims to improve access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas and in underserved communities. Other goals include fostering a resilient and supported health workforce, improving mental health care and addictions services and allowing access to Albertans' own electronic health information.
Alberta joins the four Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Manitoba in signing on to the health-care deal.
The agreements in principle are a first step to completing the $196-billion, 10-year health-care funding proposal that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on Feb. 7.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said in a written statement that the agreement will support her government's efforts to improve health care.
"We are leading the country in health-care reform and are focused on ensuring Albertans can access world-class care when and where they need it," she said.
"This is a productive first step and I look forward to continued discussions with the Government of Canada on how we can achieve longer-term sustainable funding."
Smith, Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping and Alberta Health Services administrator John Cowell are scheduled to update media later Monday on their plan to improve the province's health-care system.