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Federal-Provincial Health Care Deal Fails Canadians

This blog has been updated to reflect that the fact that the offer from the federal government has been accepted by the provinces.


Lots of chatter about what is an agreed upon funding formula for Health Care between the provinces and the federal government. Some astronomical dollars are being thrown around and called investments in health care. But at the end of the day, will this deal mean better health care for Canadians? The sad answer, is likely no.


One of the advantages(?) of being old is that you’ve lived through lots of things, and can see the past repeating itself. Case in point, in 2004 then Prime Minister Paul Martin introduced a health care “accord” that was designed to “fix health care for a generation“. Essentially the federal government ponied up an eye watering amount of money then, and the provinces were to implement targeted programs that would:

  • Reduce wait times

  • reform Primary Care

  • Develop a National Home Care program

  • Provide a National Prescription Drug Program (by 2006!)

Now Primary Care reform did happen in Ontario, with the development of capitation based payments to family physicians. Think of it as a salary with performance bonuses and you get the gist. There was also the implementation of some Family Health Teams. I’m unaware if any of these were implemented in other Provinces. I do note with interest that British Columbia is only now getting around to reforming primary care with their own new payment model for family physicians.


But both of these programs in Ontario were summarily slashed by then Health Minister Eric Hoskins and his servile deputy Health Minister Dr. Bob Bell in 2015. Indeed their unilateral freezing of the capitation model significantly damaged primary care in Ontario, and the effects of their folly are still being badly felt today by the 2 million residents of Ontario without a family doctor.






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