The Governments of Canada and Nunavut Reach Agreement in Principle to Improve Health Services for Canadians

July 6, 2023 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

Canada’s universal, accessible and publicly funded healthcare is a point of pride for Canadians.

However, health workers across Canada are under enormous strain to deliver the care that Canadian patients deserve. Immediate, collaborative action is needed to deliver better health care for Canadians.

On February 7, 2023, the Government of Canada announced an investment of close to $200 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories to improve health care services for Canadians. This funding includes an immediate, unconditional $2 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system. The federal government also announced $350 million over 10 years for the Territorial Health Investment Fund in recognition of the cost of delivering health care, which includes an initial investment of $150 million for Nunavut and a commitment to work together to address further needs.

Today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut are taking the next step by announcing an agreement in principle for a shared plan that will invest $381 million in federal funding over 10 years in Nunavut, including $70 million for a new bilateral agreement focusing on shared health priorities. This investment also includes $127 million in CHT growth since 2022-2023, a guaranteed 5 per cent growth to the CHT for the next five years (expected additional value of $17 million over 10 years), and $2 million through an immediate one-time CHT top-up to address urgent needs, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries. This will further help provide Nunavut residents with improvements in health care such as:

  • access to high-quality family health services when they need them, including in rural and remote areas, and for underserved communities;
  • a resilient and supported health workforce that provides them high-quality, effective, and safe health care services;
  • access to timely, equitable, and quality mental health, substance use and addictions services; and
  • access to their own electronic health information that is shared between the health professionals they consult.

Helping Canadians aged with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility is another shared health priority where collaborative work is already underway.

By reaching an agreement in principle, Canada and Nunavut are committing to the plan laid out on February 7, 2023, and in Budget 2023, which includes shared commitments to collect, use and share depersonalized health information and to inform Canadians of their progress with key common headline indicators. Work will now begin on a bilateral agreement based on an initial 3-year action plan that will detail targets, timelines and additional common indicators related to shared health priorities in each jurisdiction.

As part of this collaborative health plan, Canada will work with Nunavut to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals and advance labor mobility for key health professionals. Furthermore, Nunavut commits to an integrated, inclusive approach to investments in family health teams, health workers, and data and digital tools that will help to meet the health and mental health needs of Canadians.

We will fulfill our shared responsibility to uphold the Canada Health Act that protects Canadians’ access to health care that is based on need and not ability to pay. We recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to fair and equal access to quality and culturally safe health services free from racism and discrimination anywhere in Canada.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we showed that we can work together to tackle big challenges. We will work to deliver outcomes for Canadians and improve the health care system that Canadians value and depend on.

Quotes

“Today’s agreement in principle with Nunavut is an opportunity to continue our collaboration and improve the experience of health workers and the health of those they care for. It will modernize our health care system, expand access to family health services and mental health services, support health workers and reduce surgical backlogs. Better quality of care means helping Nunavut residents and Canadians live longer, healthier lives.”

The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Today’s agreement in principle with Nunavut builds on our shared objective of ensuring that all Canadians, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay, can access the care they need, when they need it. Our government will continue to work with our partners across the country to build a better health care system.”

The Honorable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“Mental health is health, and through this agreement in principle, we will be working with Nunavut to integrate mental health and substance use care as a full and equal part of our universal health care system. This agreement will help to provide greater access to mental health services, reduce substance use harm, and lower stigma. Together, we must ensure that all Canadians have access to supports and services for their mental health and well-being – when they need them, wherever they need them.”

The Honorable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“Improving health care services and reaching better health outcomes for Nunavummiut will take significant and sustained funding. I am pleased to have reached an agreement in principle with the Government of Canada which will support culturally appropriate approaches to improving healthcare and treatment opportunities for Inuit, and the Department of Health’s work on enhanced and sustainable healthcare services closer to Home. I look forward to further collaboration with our federal partners on our shared priorities.”

The Honorable John Main
Nunavut Minister of Health and Minister responsible for Suicide Prevention

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