The Hamilton Spectator

Ottawa supports call for funding reviews

Provincial leaders say health systems needs predictabi­lity, urge regular re-examinatio­n of deals


The federal government supports calls from the premiers to establish a five-year review of health-care funding, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a letter to his Ontario counterpar­t.

Canada’s premiers have been urging regular reviews to be establishe­d as part of the talks, saying the system needs predictabi­lity.

Duclos’ letter to Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones said the province’s bilateral agreement will include working toward certain health indicators, agreeing to provide “equity of access” for underserve­d groups and uphold the Canada Health Act to strengthen the public health system.

It also includes a commitment to streamline foreign credential recognitio­n for internatio­nally educated health profession­als and multijuris­dictional recognitio­n of health profession­al licences.

Ontario must also provide an action plan of how money will be spent and how progress will be measured and reported.

Duclos wrote that the review would consist of two phases, the first to “assess results and determine next steps” for existing bilateral funding deals the provinces made with Ottawa in 2017 to upgrade mental health and home care programs.

The second phase would be to formally review the current deal that’s being ironed out after five years.

“This review will consider results achieved thus far in shared health priority areas of family health services, health workers and backlogs, mental health and substance use and health system modernizat­ion,” Duclos wrote.

It would include “an assessment of progress-to-date on public reporting to Canadians using the common indicators, sharing depersonal­ized health informatio­n, and other health data commitment­s,” he wrote.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford wrote Thursday on Twitter that he had been hearing from Ontarians concerned that the health data provisions in the federal agreement would mean their private informatio­n gets shared.

“I want to be clear, the Ontario government will never share anyone’s personaliz­ed health informatio­n — digital or otherwise — with the federal government,” he wrote in a statement.

“The only discussion that is taking place is how to better use non-personaliz­ed health-system statistics to improve performanc­e, such as wait times for surgeries and the availabili­ty of family doctors.”

Ontario must provide an action plan of how money will be spent and how progress will be measured and reported

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