The Southwest Booster

Funding Faceoff: Canadians split over key decisions regarding federal-provincial Health Accord

Ontario plan to pay for private operations with public funds draws support from majority


With Canada’s first ministers set to meet February 7 in an attempt to hammer out a health care accord aimed at healing an objectivel­y broken health care system, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadian public opinion divided over key decision points.

As the federal government seeks changes including system and reporting reforms from provinces as a condition of increased funding, two-in-five (41 per cent) say that it is right to do so. However, a similar number (44 per cent), say the individual provinces should receive additional funding to improve health care delivery without strings attached.

Many Canadians trust their own province to handle delivery without these reforms. Indeed, residents in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchew­an, Manitoba, and Quebec are all more likely to say their province should receive the funding now and without conditions. The loudest voice in opposition to this is in Ontario, the only region of the country where a majority (54 per cent) say the federal government should receive commitment­s from the province in order to access additional funding.

This, after Premier Doug Ford and his Progressiv­e Conservati­ve government announced plans to move some procedures, including cataract, hip and knee surgeries to private clinics and pay for the operations using public funds. While this may be frustratin­g some, including the official opposition, support for the plan approaches half (48 per cent) in Ontario, and exceeds majority in every other region of the country (respondent­s were asked about the acceptabil­ity of this type of plan in their own province).

All of this creates an additional layer of intrigue ahead of meetings this week between federal and provincial government officials. More Key Findings: - Ontario’s decision to shift some surgeries to private clinics is popular among past Conservati­ve voters – seven-in-10 (72 per cent) would support this in their own province. Past Liberals lean slightly toward support (51 per cent to 40 per cent) while past NDP voters push back, with 55 per cent voicing opposition.

- The number of Canadians reporting poor health care where they live has risen seven points since August, from 61 to 68 per cent. This is reported as worst in Atlantic Canada where half (51 per cent) say health care is in crisis where they live and another one-inthree say it is poor (33 per cent).

- Those who assess care in their community as poor are most likely to say both levels of government share blame (45 per cent), though 39 per cent blame primarily their provincial government, far more than blame solely the federal government (12 per cent).

The full poll can be viewed online at funding-faceoff-federal-provincial-health-accord/.

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