Prime Minister Trudeau 'missed a historic chance’ to change healthcare: Canadian doctors, experts react to $196B investment

Canadians wonder where the actual investment in healthcare will end up if provinces are in charge of the funds

Provinces and Territories will have $196.1 billion to work with over 10 years in healthcare funds, which includes $46.2 billion in new support. The deal is being presented by the federal government as a generational fix to a system that’s languishing, as hospitals and medical practices across the country continue to face challenges like increased wait times and staffing shortages.

Ottawa laid out the proposed healthcare deal on Tuesday, but was ultimately met with an underwhelming reaction from premiers.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, who heads the Council of the Federation, which represents the group of premiers, said they were disappointed with what was presented and would take time to assess the plan. Ontario Premier Doug Ford described the healthcare funding plan as a “starting point”.

On social media, reaction to Ottawa’s healthcare plan was mixed. Some felt it failed to address some of the pressing issues, like lack of staffing and improved working conditions.

One columnist pointed out that a similar move was made in 2004, by then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, which doesn't appears to have made much of a difference.

The proposed finances include conditions that would require provinces to invest their own finances into health care. The funding would start by giving provinces and territories an unconditional boost to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to target what Ottawa calls "immediate pressure on the health-care system, especially in pediatric hospitals, emergency rooms and surgical and diagnostic backlogs."