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441-01142 (Health)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons


1. The Canada Health Act provides a framework to insure Canada would have a world class health care system based on five fundamental principles;

2. The five principles include public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility;

3. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments have a responsibility to insure there is a sense of equity in fairness of services no matter where a person lives in Canada; and

4. Extra attention should be given to issues like mental health, cancer care, long term care, recognizing immigrant healthcare workers and ways to improve and expand our healthcare services in general.

We, the undersigned residents of the Province of Manitoba, call upon the Government of Canada to work with Provincial Governments and other healthcare stakeholders to insure quality healthcare services in all regions of Canada.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Adam van Koeverden

The Canada Health Act, Canada’s federal health care insurance legislation, aims to ensure that all eligible residents of Canadian provinces and territories have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital, physician, and surgical-dental services that require a hospital setting (i.e., insured health services) on a prepaid basis, without charges related to the provision of insured health care services.

The Act sets out the criteria and conditions related to medically necessary insured health services that the provinces and territories must fulfill to receive the full federal cash contribution available under the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). These criteria are public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility.

While the federal government plays a role in supporting health care by providing funding to the provinces and territories, provincial and territorial governments have primary jurisdiction in the administration and delivery of health care services. This includes setting their own priorities, administering their health care budgets, and managing their own resources.

The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with provincial and territorial governments to strengthen health care systems to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Canadians and has taken leadership in engaging with the jurisdictions to address key health care priorities.

Most recently, On February 7,2023, the Prime Minister and his provincial and territorial counterparts discussed actions needed to improve the health care system while adapting to the changing needs of Canadians.

The government put forward a comprehensive plan to improve the health care system – to chart a path forward together. The plan is supported by a significant investment of $198.6 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding to provinces and territories, which Premiers have accepted. This funding will be distributed partly through the Canada Health Transfer and partly through tailor-made bilateral agreements with provinces and territories that allow for flexibility for jurisdictional health care system needs. This funding includes the following elements:

  • An immediate, unconditional $2 billion CHT top-up to address immediate pressures on the health care system, especially in pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries;
  • A 5 per cent CHT guarantee for the next five years, which will be provided through annual top-up payments as required;
  • $25 billion over 10 years to advance shared health priorities through tailored bilateral agreements that will support the needs of people in each province and territory in the four areas of shared priority;
  • $1.7 billion over five years to support hourly wage increases for personal support workers and related professions, as federal, provincial and territorial governments work together on how best to support recruitment and retention; and,
  • $175 million over five years for the Territorial Health Investment Fund in recognition of medical travel and the cost of delivering health care in the territories.

In addition, the government will work with Indigenous partners to provide additional support for Indigenous health priorities, with $2 billion over 10 years to address the unique challenges Indigenous Peoples face when it comes to fair and equitable access to quality and culturally safe health care services.

The Government of Canada will work collaboratively with provinces and territories on four shared health priorities to improve integrated health care for Canadians:

  • Expanding access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas;
  • Supporting our health workers and reducing backlogs;
  • Improving access to quality mental health and substance use services; and,
  • Modernising the health care system with standardised health data and digital tools.

Helping Canadians age with dignity, closer to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility is another area of priority.

In addition to investments announced, the government is actively working with provinces and territories to ensure that we improve our health care system in a matter that strengthens its public, accessible, and universal nature by respecting the Canada Health Act. On March 10, the Minister of Health, announced mandatory Canada Health Transfer (CHT) deductions totalling over $82 million in respect of patient charges levied during 2020-21 for medically necessary services that should be accessible to patients at no cost. He also announced next steps to curb private medically necessary health care being paid out-of-pocket by Canadians, with a focus on virtual care and other medically necessary services that Canadians are being asked to pay for. The Minister of Health has also sent a letter to his provincial and territorial colleagues reiterating our collective responsibility in ensuring Canadians’ ability to access medically necessary services without having to pay out of pocket, no matter where they live in the country or how care is delivered.

As part of the Budget 2017 commitment to improve access to home and community care and mental health and addiction services, the Government is investing $11 billion over 10 years to increase supports for Canadians. Bilateral agreements, detailing how federal investment between 2017-18 and 2021-22 would help improve access to home and community care and mental health and addiction services, were negotiated with all provinces and territories and posted to the Government of Canada’s website.

As a result of this investment, provinces and territories have implemented new initiatives to improve access and spread evidence-based models of mental health and addiction services, with a particular focus on strengthening supports for children and youth.

Another priority for the government is meeting the needs of seniors, including helping to ensure they can access the safe, quality health care they need and deserve. To address the significant challenges revealed during COVID-19, the federal government announced the creation of a new Safe Long-Term Care (LTC) Fund in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement. This fund transferred $1 billion to the provinces and territories to protect people living and working in long-term care.

Budget 2021 also provided $3 billion over five years to support provinces and territories in their efforts to improve long-term care in their jurisdictions. The Government of Canada believes that strengthening compliance and enforcement activities in LTC facilities, as well as supporting workforce stability through wage top-ups and improvements to workplace conditions, is essential to improving safety and care for patients, and creating a more positive and healthier environment for all who live or work in LTC.

In January 2023, the government welcomed the release of independent LTC standards from the Health Standards Organization and CSA Group. These standards provide guidance for delivering services that are safe, reliable and centred on residents’ needs; foster a healthy and competent workforce; and create safer physical environments by promoting a culture of quality improvement and learning across LTC homes.

Canadians want to age closer to home and family, but also expect long-term care to be safe, if it is needed. As such, the government is looking at developing a Safe LTC Act to help ensure seniors get the care they deserve, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction. In the coming months, the Government of Canada will move forward with consultations and engagement with stakeholders and Canadians on the Safe LTC Act.

In addition, the Government of Canada provides funding to a suite of pan-Canadian Health Organizations who provide a national leadership role on a broad range of pan-Canadian health priorities. This includes the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) that works with partners across Canada to accelerate and introduce programs to restore and sustain cancer care in the wake of the pandemic, drive faster innovation to improve access to world-class screening; address inequities in care for underserved populations, and advance the priorities and actions of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (2019-2029).

Further, the government seeks to bolster our health care system by addressing the workforce crisis by attracting and retaining foreign-born health care workers   While the licensing of immigrant health care workers is under the purview of the provincial and territorial colleges, the federal government has made it easier for foreign-born physicians to remain in Canada, so they can continue to practice in the country. The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to prioritize temporary resident work permit applications for essential workers in health care, and in 2022, the department accepted over 8,600 temporary and permanent resident applications from foreign nationals intending to work in the health sector. More information on this initiative can be found at

Most recently, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship launched a call for proposals under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program. Up to $90 million will be invested in projects that will help remove barriers preventing qualified and skilled newcomers from gaining Canadian work experience in their own profession or field of study. These projects will give internationally educated health professionals the support and experience needed to pursue opportunities in the areas where we need their skills most.

Canadians and their families deserve timely access to health care services they need, and they expect their governments to work together to find immediate and longer-term solutions to these challenges. The federal government will continue working closely with provinces and territories to help ensure all Canadians have equitable access to medically necessary care based on their needs, not their ability to pay.

Presented to the House of Commons
Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North)
February 14, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01142)
Government response tabled
March 30, 2023
Photo - Kevin Lamoureux
Winnipeg North
Liberal Caucus

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