Federal health accord expires

Events to be held across the country to mark expiry of health accord


OTTAWA – Patients in some parts of the country may face bed shortages and more expensive drugs now that a health-care deal between Ottawa and the provinces has expired, an advocacy group warned Monday.

Provinces with declining populations, such as New Brunswick, are already feeling the fallout from the expiry of the 10-year, $41-billion health accord struck in 2004, while growing provinces like Alberta stand to gain, said Canadian Health Coalition executive director Michael McBane.

“This year, New Brunswick will have less money, Alberta will have more,” McBane told a news conference on Parliament Hill.

“There will be provincial governments who will not be able to meet the needs of their populations.”

In 2011, former finance minister Jim Flaherty said the Canada Health Transfer to the provinces and territories would grow by six per cent a year until 2017-18.

After that, health transfers will be tied to the rate of economic growth and inflation, but the government says the annual rate of increase won’t fall below three per cent.

Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, described how some provinces would be affected by the expiry of the deal.

“We’ll see bed closures, as we’ve seen in Ontario,” Moist said. “We’ll see an inability to wrestle to the ground pharmaceutical prices … we’ll see, provincially, more de-listing of certain drugs that Canadians now receive.

“There is no long-term care strategy for Canada. And I expect each and every provincial budget will continue to announce that provinces are assuming more and more responsibility from the days of 50-50 funding.”

Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the government will have transferred $40 billion to the provinces and territories by the end of the decade, but more health innovation is also needed.

“More money is not the only answer here to fix the inefficiencies in our health system,” she said during the Commons question period.

“What we’ve learned in the past ten years is that innovation really is the key. We know that innovation is making a difference, Mr. Speaker, and we’ll build on that success by creating a wise persons panel to examine not only the state of health innovation but ensure federal actions create a more innovative health system. ”

McBane, Moist and Linda Silas of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions were in Ottawa for one of dozens of events planned across the country to mark the end of the health accord, which expired Monday.

Actress Shirley Douglas — the daughter of politician Tommy Douglas, widely credited as the father of medicare — was scheduled to speak at a rally in Toronto.

The left-leaning Council of Canadians also said at least 19 of its chapters planned to stage events in various locations.

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Federal health accord expires

  1. It’s all part of the CRAP grand plan to introduce a formal 2-tier system. The question is will it be by benign neglect or death by a thousand cuts?

    • Not really. We have spent so mush on waste, debt, bailouts of corporations/unions/banks/auto/other money for nothing wastes and government bloat excesses, there isn’t much left for real health care. So they dumb down services, long waits and hold taxes over our heads if we want more.

      When its really about priorities, with so much uncommon good spending and waste, there isn’t as much for common good. Common good takes back seat to lobby groups, bailout whiners, useless nations providing nothing of value and a hoard of people whining for more of other peoples money. Really just a greed fest of statism a failing.

      We are a tax inflated depreciating econoy of (bankrupt) debt. You bet, things are going to get worse before they get better as Canada doesn’t have ethical and moral leaderships, just lobby/money/media elected show and lies for other peoples money.

      Its why I invest offshore to avoid CAD currency losses and get better returns, as I know Canada is failing. I follow real economics, not the junk Ottawa spews.

  2. Martian and Chretien did this, Harper too. Get super high federal taxes in the name of health care, then push it to the provinces keeping federal taxes high.

    Big government is about deception, always jacking taxes for health care while skimming it for buddies, bailouts, bloated union government wages, inefficiencies and premier vacations.

    How many people even know how little Ottawa spends on health care of COMMON good. Here is a hint, less than GST.