Canada’s provinces and territories are on the same page with their opposition to Ottawa changing the funding formula for health care payments.
At this week’s First Minister’s meetings, the premiers have called for a separate meeting to discuss their concerns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the provinces and territories need a partnership on supporting health care and voiced his concerns about the state of the system, saying he will act for the people of his province, first.
Dr. Steve Morgan is a professor with UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and calls this “interesting times”.
He says spending in every province over the last decade has increased quickly, thanks to the increase in federal transfers at 6% per-year over that time.
“Now they’re scheduled to increase it at about 3% per-year as the new growth formula kicks in,” he says. “It’s not really a cut in federal transfers, just a slow-down in the growth rate, which the provinces argue will make it difficult for them to balance their budgets.”
Morgan says BC is angling to get bigger federal transfers, but he doesn’t think Premier Christy Clark (pictured) will get there, as PM Trudeau has been clear that transfers won’t be that high without a commitment from the rest of the provinces and territories that they will spend that money in ways to transform the system.
He says if the Premiers can come to an agreement with the Prime Minister, they can move on to the heavier issue of how well the systems perform and how accountable they will be to people.