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Money without measurement won’t solve health system woes, Canadian Medical Association president-elect says

The Yukon signs onto PM Trudeau’s health-care plan
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses attendees of a Liberal fundraiser in Whitehorse on Feb. 12. The Yukon government is taking up Trudeau’s health funding offer presented in February. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

The Yukon government has signed on to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s health-care plan that will see $380 million in federal funding over ten years in the territory.

The deal in principle includes $73 million for a new bilateral agreement and federal health transfer boosts including a one-time $2-million top-up to the Canada health transfer to address urgent needs such as in pediatric clinics, emergency rooms and long wait times for surgeries.

A July 6 release from the federal government about the announcement notes health-care workers in Canada’s publicly funded health-care system are under “enormous strain” and action is needed to deliver better care. Similarly, a July 6 release from the territorial government cites “significant challenges” health-care workers face to deliver care as the governments partner to improve health-care services in the territory.

“We will fulfill our shared responsibility to uphold the Canada Health Act that protects Canadians’ access to health care that is based on need and not ability to pay,” reads the federal government’s release.

Trudeau presented his offer to provincial and territorial premiers in February while the president of the Canadian Medical Association rang the alarm about the urgent need for investment in the sector and health-care workers, politicians and health advocates raised concerns about a national health-care crisis.

The news comes ahead of Canada’s premiers gathering for the Council of the Federation meetings in Winnipeg. Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Alika Lafontaine will meet with the territorial and provincial leaders, per the medical association’s July 5 release which contains a series of targets that are intended for governments to use to make the health system better.

President-elect Dr. Kathleen Ross, who is a B.C. family physician, expressed excitement to the News by phone July 6 that the Yukon joined in on the federal offer.

“This is definitely a time for us to work together across the country to find a way to improve the services we provide,” Ross said.

“Money is definitely part of the answer, but money without measurement — money without metrics or goals that we’re working towards in the next three, five and 10 years — is not likely to solve challenges that had been decades in the making.”

Since Northwest Territories and Nunavut also reached deals in principle on July 6, that leaves Quebec as the only province or territory without a new health agreement.

In exchange for the money, provinces and territories have committed to coming up with a three-year plan with targets and timelines for improving health care in their jurisdictions.

Per the government releases, the territorial and federal governments will work to streamline the recognition of foreign credentials for health professionals educated internationally. Yukon’s Health and Social Services communications analyst Ken Hegan said the governments will also work to allow key health professionals to move from one place to another for work purposes either within the country or across borders.

— With files from the Canadian Press

Contact Dana Hatherly at dana.hatherly@yukon-news.com



Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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