Cathers calls for clarity on health spending

Brad Cathers, Yukon's independent MLA for Lake Laberge, is cheering news that the federal government has extended the life of additional health funding for two years.

Brad Cathers, Yukon’s independent MLA for Lake Laberge, is cheering news that the federal government has extended the life of additional health funding for two years.

The fund, established five years ago, provides Canada’s three territories with $30 million annually to help cope with the expense of providing health-care in the North.

Just how the Yukon government plans to spend the money over the next two years remains to be seen. Cathers, who served as Health minister when the funds were first introduced, is calling on the Yukon Party government to keep the existing programs in place.

Some of those programs include the 811 Yukon HealthLine, the palliative care program, mental health services for communities provided by Telehealth, and grants for students pursuing education to become doctors or nurses.

“I think the programs are working very well and I certainly hope that funding will continue for them,” said Cathers.

“Fifteen days from now the spending plan ends, and the government has yet to announce whether it will be business as usual for these programs on April 1, or whether there will be changes to what is funded under this.”

However, Health Minister Glenn “Hart and officials certainly deserve a pat on the back for developing a business case and successfully negotiating” an extension of the agreement, said Cathers. (John Thompson)