HEALTH CAREVictoria: Canada’s universal, publicly funded health system is a source of pride for Canadians.

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to strengthen health care and adapt the system to the changing needs of Canadians.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed a bilateral agreement outlining how the Province plans to invest its share of targeted federal funding. The agreement represents a shift in how the federal and provincial governments work together to advance shared health priorities.

With support from the Government of Canada, the Government of B.C. will invest in a range of initiatives to expand home and community care, and mental-health and addiction services. These include:

* improving the integration of specialized community care programs and primary care networks for adults and seniors with complex medical conditions;

* improving access to, and the responsiveness and quality of, community-based palliative care; and

* implementing a series of early action initiatives designed to take immediate action to address the most-pressing service gaps and pave the way for the Province’s new mental-health and addictions strategy.

Through this agreement, B.C. will invest approximately $394 million in targeted federal funding for home and community care and $262 million for mental health and addictions over five years, as part of a 10-year federal financial commitment of approximately $1.4 billion.

These activities are fully aligned with the objectives and the pan-Canadian priorities set out in the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities endorsed by the federal government, provinces* and territories in August 2017.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal Minister of Health said: “I am pleased that the governments of Canada and B.C. have finalized a bilateral agreement outlining investments in home and community care, and mental health and addiction services. The Government of Canada is committed to working with provinces and territories so that Canadians can have access to the health services they need.”

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, British Columbia said: “This agreement will provide timely access to home and community care. The goal for seniors is to live healthier and to enjoy better quality of life. Together with the federal government, we are making sure individuals and families have access to quality public health care when they need it.”

Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, British Columbia said: “As Canada’s first Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, we are creating a system of care where you ask for help once and get help fast. As we develop our comprehensive mental-health and addictions strategy, greater access to services and supports for children and youth, working with our First Nations partners and responding to the overdose emergency are the priorities. The key in addressing long ignored service gaps is early intervention and prevention. This investment supports actions underway to create a seamless system of care for all British Columbians.”

Quick Facts:

* In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada committed $11 billion over 10 years in new funding for provinces and territories to improve access to home care and mental-health services for Canadians.

* Canadians will see how targeted federal funding for home care and mental health will be invested in each province and territory, and they will be able to track progress based on a focused set of common indicators being developed.

* In 2021-22, these agreements will be renewed for the remaining five years of the 10-year commitment.

* The federal government has agreed to an asymmetrical arrangement with Quebec, distinct from the Common Statement of Principles.