Toronto

New accord, opioid abuse, Indigenous health on agenda as ministers meet

Provincial and territorial health ministers are expected to push for a new health accord at a meeting in Toronto on Monday.

Provinces are pushing for more funding to help with changing demographics

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins wants more money from Ottawa to cover the province's healthcare needs. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A new health accord is expected to be at the top of the agenda when provincial and territorial health ministers meet on Monday in Toronto.

The ministers are expected to discuss fiscal health care challenges before Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott joins them on Tuesday.

The provinces are putting pressure on Ottawa to boost its annual cash transfers beyond next year's planned increase of three per cent.

Ontario says more money needed

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said in news release that the planned increase is not enough to support aging populations and changing demographics.

The Trudeau government, when it was elected, promised the provinces $3-billion over the next four years for home and community care. 

Hoskins wants to make sure Ottawa keeps its promise.

"I'm confident that all parties around the table understand the importance of ensuring the realization of that commitment," he said.

Opioid abuse at issue

Access to prescription drugs will also be discussed. 

A recent report by Health Quality Ontario shows "significant gaps" in the province's health care, highlighting the fact that low income families, new immigrants and addicts can't access the medications they need. 

Ministers will also look at developing a national plan to tackle opioid abuse.

Ontario launched a comprehensive provincial strategy last week that includes expanding access to Suboxone, a drug that helps treat opioid addiction.

Indigenous health priorities are also on the agenda. 

In January, health ministers pledged to work with Indigenous leaders to improve the coordination and continuity of health services.

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