Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will have to consider increasing health-care funding after seeing the toll the novel coronavirus has taken on the country.
Before the pandemic hit, the federal government was set to open discussions in May with provinces and territories about transfer payments for health care.
Those discussions have since been put off to focus on the more urgent concern of COVID-19.
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“We will, of course, be there to have conversations about increasing supports to the provinces for health care,” Trudeau said Friday in Ottawa outside his residence at Rideau Cottage.
“We’ve seen significant needs on health care across the country.”
Health spending as a share of Canada’s gross domestic product has generally trended upward for the last 40 years, with provinces and territories spending about $172 billion in 2019, according to estimates by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
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It’s the single-largest spending item in all provincial and territorial budgets.
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A recent analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa concluded that health-care spending would quickly become unsustainable for provinces.