HAMILTON — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he respects provincial jurisdiction on health care but still intends to attach strings to $25 billion in new health funding he has promised if he gets re-elected.
The Liberal plan includes targeted funding over five years to hire 7,500 new family doctors, raise wages for personal support workers in long-term care, and a new direct transfer for mental health that will rise to $2 billion annually by 2025-26.
Last spring the premiers asked for an immediate $28 billion increase to the annual Canada Health Transfer followed by a six per cent increase a year.
Trudeau says he is willing to renegotiate the federal transfer program after the pandemic but immediate funding is needed to address specific issues in long-term care, mental health and a backlog of surgeries and testing, which grew as the health care system was forced to pivot to respond to COVID-19.
He also says a federal Liberal government will ensure new funding "actually delivers results" and accuses Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole of offering money with no plan to ensure it makes a difference.
O'Toole's plan is to increase transfers six per cent a year for a decade but his party's costing document is based on economic projections that suggest the transfer is already set to rise by close to that amount for the next several years because it is based on economic growth.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2021.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press