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Ottawa signs $3.7 billion health deal with Quebec, last province to sign health accord |

All 13 provinces and territories were part of Ottawa’s new health accord Wednesday after Health Minister Mark Holland announced a $3.7 billion health pact with Quebec.

More than a year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first presented to the provinces a new health funding agreement aimed at increasing federal health transfers and providing targeted assistance.

The offer came as premiers and health-care workers sounded the alarm about the failing state of Canada’s health-care systems.

In exchange for these funds, Ottawa requires provinces to report on how the money will be spent and measure whether these funds are improving health outcomes for Canadians.

Quebec was the only province not to sign the agreement in principle due to concerns about the sovereignty of its health data, accusing Ottawa of overstepping its jurisdiction.

The agreement that Ottawa ultimately reached with Quebec includes $2.5 billion over three years to improve health care, as well as $1.2 billion over five years to improve access to health care. home or to a safe long-term care facility for aging Quebecers.

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The agreements respect Quebec’s “exclusive jurisdiction” in health matters, the province’s Health Minister, Christian Dubé, said in a statement in French on Wednesday.

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However, like other provinces, Holland said Quebec will still need to show precisely how federal dollars are spent on a common list of health priorities and provide publicly available annual progress reports.

“Within this section, there is enormous flexibility, and the Quebec plan demonstrates it,” Holland said in an interview Wednesday.

The Quebec government plans to use these funds to help implement a health care reform plan, but will continue to push for more federal funding.

According to the province, the federal share of health spending will decline from approximately 21.9 percent in 2024-25 to 20.7 percent in 2032-33.

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“It must be said that the amount granted is not up to what we asked for,” Dubé said in his statement.

“That said, we have the Quebec Health Plan and the amounts provided in these agreements will be used to support its deployment which began more than two years ago.”

Now that Ottawa has signed agreements with every province and territory, Holland said he will bring together his fellow health ministers in the coming weeks to discuss next steps.

The agreements will be different from previous versions because provinces will publicly report their progress, using measured indicators and providing detailed accounts of how the money is spent, he said.

“You achieve what you measure,” Holland said, describing the new framework as a “starting line” for new federal-provincial-territorial health care relationships.

“We don’t just write a check.”

Provinces are expected to begin reporting their progress in the fall of 2025, but Holland said many provinces are already making progress toward improving their health care systems after the COVID-19 pandemic.

People shouldn’t expect immediate change, but Holland said he hopes to see incremental progress toward better health systems in Canada over time.

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“If someone tells you that you can wave a wand and magically arrive in a different place, then they are not being honest with you,” he said.

Although governments will strive to make changes as quickly as possible, he said they must be “true and honest in the face of both challenges and opportunities.”

— With files from Jacob Serebrin of The Canadian Press

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