Opioid money not part of federal health deal: Health Canada

Health Canada says money given to Alberta and British Columbia to help with the opioid crisis was separate from the federal health deals signed by most jurisdictions, including Yukon.

Health Canada says money given to Alberta and British Columbia to help with the opioid crisis was separate from the federal health deals signed by most jurisdictions, including Yukon.

The territory’s official Opposition had asked if the Yukon government was seeking similar money to fight opioid abuse after five deaths here were linked to fentanyl in the last year or so.

Under the health agreement the territory signed with the federal government, if other jurisdictions got a better deal, the territory could renegotiate, Health Minister Pauline Frost said in January.

In this case, though the opioid money — $10 million to British Columbia and the $6 million for Alberta — appears to have been announced at the same time those provinces signed the health deal, the federal government says the pots of money are not connected.

“Federal support to British Columbia and Alberta to tackle the urgent opioid crisis in their provinces was unrelated to this health accord funding,” Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette said in an email.

Under the health accord the Yukon will receive $6.2 million for home care and $5.2 million for mental health initiatives over the next 10 years. The deal also means Yukon gets an annual increase of 3.5 per cent to the health transfer payments.

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