Canada signs $256 million bilateral deal with Newfoundland and Labrador to improve healthcare over three years

March 25, 2024 | Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador | Health Canada

Canadians want and deserve a health care system that provides timely access to health services when and where they are needed. That’s why the Government of Canada is investing nearly $200 billion over 10 years to support the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians plan.

Today, the Honorable Mark Holland, Minister of Health of Canada, the Honorable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of the Honorable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Canada and the Associate Minister of Health and the Honorable Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced a bilateral agreement to invest nearly $256 million to improve healthcare access and services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Through Working together Under the agreement, the Government of Canada will provide nearly $256 million to support Newfoundland and Labrador’s three-year action plan to achieve improvements in its health care system. The plan:

  • Expand access to family health services
  • Increase health workforce and health services to reduce delays
    • Institute care models that address surgical delays and increase access to health services, including by expanding orthopedic surgeries in Carbonear;
    • Support models of care that allow healthcare providers, including pharmacists, to expand their scope of practice by prescribing more medications;
    • Pilot a new physician assistant program and continue to increase midwifery positions across the province;
    • Increase the number of incentive programs specific to hard-to-fill positions and increase programs designed to increase healthcare worker retention, including programs to support career development; and,
    • Add new undergraduate medical education positions and new family medical residency positions for international medical graduates at Memorial University.
  • Increase mental health and substance use services.
    • Increase the number of people with access to mental health equipment; and
    • Improve access to services for rural and Indigenous communities and offer community services, substance use support and innovative mental health services online.
  • Modernize health data systems to ensure more patients can access care
    • Increase the number of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who can electronically access their own medical records;
    • Expand virtual care to rural and remote communities; and
    • Implement an emergency response dispatch center throughout the province.

Progress on these broader initiatives and commitments will be measured against targets that Newfoundland and Labrador will publicly report on annually.

Through this new agreement, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will work with the Government of Canada to improve the way health information is collected, shared, used and communicated; expedite the recognition of foreign credentials for internationally trained health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to defend the Canada Health Law protect Canadians’ access to health care based on need, not ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador also commit to meaningfully engaging and working with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality, culturally appropriate health care services. . Newfoundland and Labrador’s action plan is based on continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and support from recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal government will continue to work together to improve health services for all patients across the province, including responding to the needs of rural, remote, Indigenous and other underserved and disadvantaged populations.

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