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QUESTION PERIOD — Pediatric Healthcare Funding

Hon. Rosemary Moodie

My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, the pediatric health community was very pleased with the news of the planned $2-billion injection of funds into the system last week. That is a good response to the crisis we are facing, and it’s good news that the government has recognized that there is an issue and that it has a role to play in solving it.

That said, one-time funding is not enough to fix the long-term issues plaguing our system. Does the government plan to work with the provinces to secure ongoing earmarked funding for the pediatric health care system here in Canada?


Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) 

Thank you for the question, senator.

As we all know, the federal government announced the funding of $198.6 billion over 10 years, which includes $48.7 billion in new funding. The federal government also recognizes not only the primacy of provincial jurisdiction in health care but the fact that provinces and territories have their own unique circumstances and their own ways of doing things.

As such, the bilateral agreements — discussions around which are ongoing, as we know — are intended to be flexible and tailored so that provinces and territories can address the unique circumstances and needs of their populations and of their geography. As part of those bilateral agreements that are being discussed and negotiated, provincial and territorial governments are being asked to develop action plans that will describe how the funds will be spent and how progress will be measured. Action plans with targeted results and indicators will be made available publicly by both federal and provincial/territorial governments, and provinces and territories would and will publicly report those results to their own residents.

That is a first important step, and I think all Canadians hope and expect that the governments will work together to actually deliver the results that this new funding promises to secure.


Senator Moodie

Senator Gold, I was troubled by the fact that the technical briefing on health system funding was offered to the media first, ahead of the meeting with the premiers. As the government is responsible to Parliament, not the media, why weren’t parliamentarians offered a similar type of briefing?


Senator Gold 

Thank you for your question, senator.

My office, the Office of the Government Representative in the Senate, endeavours to keep parliamentarians, senators briefed on all relevant activities. I don’t have the answer to your question, but if there are specific questions that you or other senators might have that I’m able to answer, I would certainly bring them to the government’s attention.

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