Quebec and Ottawa reach deal to increase federal health transfers by $900M

20 March 2024
Quebec and Ottawa reach deal to increase federal health transfers by 0M

Ottawa and Quebec have reached an agreement in principle on increasing the Canada Health Transfer to the province by $900 million, Radio-Canada has learned.

The agreement in principle was reached during a meeting between Premier François Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal on Friday, Radio-Canada reports.

Quebec was the last province not to have concluded an agreement with the federal government. The Trudeau government had set a deadline of March 31.

Radio-Canada has learned that, in the agreement in principle, there will be no accountability or conditions imposed on Quebec on the use of the funding, which had been a sticking point in talks between the two governments.

Trudeau met with Canada’s premiers in February 2023 to pitch a plan to send roughly $46.2 billion in new money to the provinces and territories over 10 years to help prop up a faltering health-care system.

In exchange for the funding, the federal government demanded more transparency from the provinces on its use and better access to data on their respective health systems in order to ensure that its funding produced the expected results.

Legault was one of the provincial leaders most vocal about the need for a deal with Ottawa — but he bristled at the idea of being held accountable to Ottawa for meeting certain targets.

The condition was perceived by the Quebec government as an intrusion by the federal government into a field of jurisdiction reserved for the provinces.

Although the absence of that condition in the agreement in principle is a victory for the Legault government, $900 million is well below the sum of $6 billion it had originally clamoured for.

According to Radio-Canada, the agreement does nothing to reduce Quebec’s $11-billion dollar deficit as this increase in health transfers was already accounted for in the provincial budget that was tabled last week.

Source:  Radio Canada

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