Prime minister and Manitoba premier announce $633M in health funding

health care

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew at the news event in Winnipeg on Thursday. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew have announced more than $633 million in health-care funding.

Almost $434 million is to support Manitoba’s three-year plan to improve health care and about $199 million is to bolster care for seniors.

“Canadians value universal public health care. That’s why we’re signing agreements with provinces and territories to make health care work better for Canadians,” Trudeau said in a news release Thursday. “Today’s agreements with Manitoba will help hire more health workers, reduce wait times, support seniors, and make sure Canadians get the care they need, when they need it.”

In that news release, the governments say the “Working Together agreement” money is to support Manitoba’s goal to hire 400 more doctors, 300 more nurses, 200 paramedics and 100 homecare workers.

The province and Ottawa say they are also working to remove barriers for internationally trained doctors and health professionals to practice in Manitoba.

“Fixing the health care staffing shortage is job number one for our government – that means more support for the bedside instead of the bureaucracy,” said Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew. “We will work with the Government of Canada to hire more doctors and more nurses into our system, so we can start to cut wait times and deliver the best care possible for Manitobans.”

Just over a year ago, Ottawa announced $196 billion in funding over the next 10 years for provinces and territories to improve access to health care — about $46 billion of that is new money.

According to the joint release, the province says it will hire more psychologists to help reduce wait times and double hospital spaces for those experiencing homelessness and in need of health care.

“These investments will reduce wait times and help more Manitoba families and kids get the mental health care they need,” said Bernadette Smith, Manitoba’s minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness as well as the minister responsible for mental health. “It’s a key part of our plan to improve mental health services to ensure Manitobans are supported and well in their communities.”

Manitoba is the seventh province or territory to formally sign on to the accord, following British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Northwest Territories.

All provinces and territories have agreed to the health accord in principle except for Quebec, which has balked at being accountable to Ottawa for how money is spent.

With files from the Canadian Press. 

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