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Provinces offered more for home care and mental health funding

Provinces offered more for home care and mental health funding

The federal government has told the provinces it will commit $ 11 billion in new health-care funding over the next 10 years for home care and mental health, in addition to a slightly higher increase in the general health transfer each year, CBC News has learned.

Sources close to the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CBC News that the federal government’s latest offer includes $ 6 billion for home care, with $ 1 billion of that money set aside for home-care infrastructure, and a further $ 5 billion towards targeted spending on mental health services over the next decade.

Federal finance Minister Bill Morneau intends to grow the Canada Health Transfer 3.5 per cent each year over the next decade.

The provinces and territories have enjoyed six per cent year-over-year growth in health spending since it penned the last health accord with former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004. That annual increase is set to drop to three per cent starting next year, unless the rate of GDP growth exceeds three per cent.

Provincial and territorial health ministers have presented a united front against Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott’s insistence that a three per cent annualized increase is a “reasonable escalator,” saying that rate is too low to keep pace with a rapidly ageing population.

Finance Ministers 20161219

Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen, centre-left, Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette, centre right, and other provincial health ministers angrily rejected an earlier proposal by the federal government, saying the offer was ridiculous. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The Liberals had made home care a priority in the election campaign, promising $ 3 billion over four years in the party’s election platform, but have been tight-lipped about just how much money the government would direct towards its mental health strategy.

Federal and provincial finance ministers kicked off meetings in Ottawa with a working dinner last night and were joined by health ministers this morning. Talks are continuing.

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CBC | Health News

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