Ontario, federal government reach agreement in principle on health care

Ontario and the federal government say they've reached a deal in principle on health care.

The province says Health Minister Sylvia Jones wrote to her federal counterpart Jean-Yves Duclos on Wednesday agreeing to the deal.

Ontario says the agreement in principle allows them to begin further discussions on how the health-care money will be spent.

It says the priority areas for the increased funding are mental health, primary care, data sharing and increasing the number of health-care workers.

Canada’s premiers agreed earlier this month to accept Ottawa’s offer of more than $46 billion to augment the Canada Health Transfer.

The federal government is working out separate bilateral deals with the provinces and territories to address needs specific to each jurisdiction.

The premiers had said further discussions were needed to establish long-term predictability and stability in health care.

In a letter last week to the Ontario health minister, Duclos said the province's bilateral agreement would include working toward certain health indicators, agreeing to provide "equity of access'' for underserved groups and upholding the Canada Health Act to strengthen the public health system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press