Members of Cabinet met yesterday with federal Ministers to discuss increases to federal health care funding.
Premier Caroline Cochrane was joined by Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green and Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek in a meeting with federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic LeBlanc and federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos.
In the meeting, the parties discussed Canada’s health care funding proposal which was jointly accepted by Canada’s Premiers on February 13. In addition to increases in the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and bilateral funding agreements, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will continue to negotiate with Canada on the Territorial Health Innovation Fund (THIF).
Premier Cochrane, Minister Green and Minister Wawzonek addressed concerns with some components of Canada’s proposal, including the limited ability to address priorities with $7 million in bilateral funding, and flagged concerns related to the delivery of responsive health care services across the NWT.
Realizing transformative change will require substantial investment, particularly to meet the needs of Indigenous residents. The GNWT looks forward to working collaboratively with the federal government to reach an agreement on health care funding that better addresses the gaps in the territory’s very challenging health environment.
“I appreciate Canada’s commitment to advancing discussions by meeting with my colleagues and me in Yellowknife. Given that the NWT has significantly higher health care costs per person than southern jurisdictions, a flexible, tailored agreement with northern territories will be essential for meeting our territory’s unique needs and challenges. Yesterday’s meeting with federal Ministers LeBlanc and Duclos was a good first step, but more work needs to be done to come to an offer both parties can agree on.”
-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories
“We recognize that the Territorial Health Investment Fund provides funding for the Northwest Territories’ health care system and has been a critical support for primary health care reform, system transformation and cultural safety initiatives. Our territory has unique and longstanding issues that require dedicated programs and services to meet the needs of NWT residents. While we continue our discussions with the federal government, we will be advocating for funding that bridges gaps and targets the actual cost of operating our health and social services system.”
-Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services
“The Northwest Territories trails behind Canadian provinces on social and health indicators while we service a population that experiences significantly higher levels of systemic disadvantage across a complex geography and without economies of scale. We are grateful to hear that the Federal government recognizes the unique challenges of providing health care in the North and that they will continue to engage with us on a sustainable path forward for the THIF so we can achieve equitable health care for northern Canadians.”
-Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance
- The components of the federal health funding proposal include:
- $2M in immediate CHT top-up of the NWT for 2023-2024
- 5% CHT Transfer escalator for the next 5 years
- $7M in tailored bilateral agreements for the NWT, for 10 years
- $10M in THIF for each of the territories for 5 years
- $3M in other bilateral agreements for the NWT for 4-5 years
- $2B over 10 years to establish a national Indigenous Health Equity Fund to be distributed on a distinctions basis with First Nations, Métis and Inuit
- $500M over 5 years to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Canada Health Infoway and federal data partners to work with Provinces and Territories on developing new health data indicators
- $1.7B over 5 years to support wage increases for personal support workers and related professions (no allocation identified for NWT)
- Federal news release: Working together to improve health care for Canadians
- Health Canada backgrounder
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Government of the Northwest Territories