A new analysis concludes that the federal government’s 2023 budget includes the most significant investment into health care in more than two decades. The analysis also echoes previous reports by highlighting that funding alone cannot rebuild Canada’s strained health systems.
“A significant increase in federal funding, the introduction of new accountability measures and recently announced provincial and territorial plans to improve their respective health systems should give patients and providers hope that change is not only possible, but it’s happening,” says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). “What we now need is ongoing political will to make brave decisions to reform how we deliver care, improve access for patients and create better working conditions for providers. We owe it to the patients and health professionals to leverage this moment in time to expand access, support our workforce and drive lasting improvements.”
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) commissioned the analysis of the Health Accords between the federal and provincial/territorial governments to compare the 2023 agreements with those dating back to 2000. The analysis shows that the 2023 federal health funding proposal is the largest by a significant margin at an average of $16 billion in increases per year over 10 years. The second largest was the 2004 Health Accord with an average increase of $12.3 billion per year.
An earlier analysis also commissioned by the CMA points to relatively high levels of health funding across Canada, while noting that availability and timeliness of care lags the country’s OECD peers.
The CMA is encouraged that the 2023 Health Accords will improve accountabilities as provinces and territories must align to national data standards and policies to receive their Canada Health Transfer allocation during the first five years of the agreement. Furthermore, the CMA welcomes the areas of focus identified in the funding agreements: expanding access to family health services, supporting health workers and reducing backlogs, improving access to mental health and substance use services, and modernizing the health system with standardized health data and digital tools.