Conference of Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Health


Today,  Alberta Minister of Health Stephen Mandel chaired a provincial and territorial  health ministers meeting in Banff. Ministers identified new areas for provinces  and territories to collaborate regarding health care and also shared best  practices on health care innovation.  

“Provincial  and territorial ministers are committed to working together to deliver quality  health care services to all Canadians. Through collaboration on topics such as the  Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, orphan drugs, newborn screening, flavoured  tobacco and e-cigarettes, we can ensure we have sustainable and effective  health care systems for future generations.”
- Stephen Mandel, Alberta Minister of Health

Health Care  Innovation Working Group
Through the leadership of Canada’s Premiers,  the Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG) has demonstrated that  provinces and territories are committed to working together to produce  significant results that benefit patients and our health care systems.  Ministers welcome Quebec’s participation in the HCIWG.

Provincial and territorial ministers  discussed the working group’s continued efforts in three priority areas –  pharmaceuticals, appropriateness of care and seniors’ care.

Ministers agreed to establish a new office in  Ontario for the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (PCPA).

Provinces and territories are working  together to reduce the cost of brand name and generic drugs. Collaborative  efforts on pharmaceuticals have resulted in price reductions on 10 generic  drugs and 43 brand name drugs. This work results in over $260 million in  combined savings annually. The working group will continue to focus on  developing a more consistent and formalized process for negotiations and price  reductions. Quebec intends to join the PCPA, but legislative modifications are  needed first.

Seniors and aging
Provincial  and territorial ministers had a productive discussion on seniors and aging.  Ministers are engaged on seniors care through the HCIWG and will support  efforts of the Council of the Federation’s Chair’s Initiative on Aging.  Provinces and territories are all working to address dementia and will be  discussing this important issue with Minister Ambrose.  

Canada Health Infoway
Ministers  agree that electronic health records are one of the most transformational  innovations in health care in a generation. Provinces and territories are  concerned that progress to implement electronic health record infrastructure will  be seriously jeopardized without renewal of funding for Canada Health Infoway.  Ministers are united in calling for the federal government to renew funding for  Canada Health Infoway.

Medical isotopes
Provincial  and territorial ministers discussed medical isotopes and their concern with  potential supply disruptions following the planned 2016 closure of the Chalk  River facility. They welcome the opportunity to discuss this with Minister  Ambrose.

There  is a vital role for the federal government as a regulator and as the reviewer  of the projects to develop alternate isotope sources. This is key for provinces  and territories to ensure patient safety and ongoing access to essential  diagnostic services.

Orphan drugs for rare  diseases
Participating  provincial and territorial health ministers discussed the significant  challenges they face in providing new drug therapies to treat rare diseases.  Orphan drugs are used to treat life-threatening, chronic and seriously  debilitating rare diseases and are very costly.  

As  growth rates for the worldwide orphan drug market are expected to double that  of the overall prescription drug market by 2018, ministers discussed how  provincial and territorial drug plans can approach this challenge.

Ministers  have established a working group led by Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.  The group will explore how to manage the cost of rare disease drug therapies  with evidence-based approaches.

Newborn Screening
An  internationally accepted standard of care, newborn screening is an important tool  for health systems to improve health outcomes in children. Screening at birth  can help to identify and treat disorders before symptoms appear. Health  ministers agreed that provincial and territorial officials should continue to  develop an evidence-based list of recommended primary newborn conditions for  Pan-Canadian use. Quebec participates in the working group in an information  sharing capacity.

Flavoured Tobacco /  Electronic Cigarettes
Health  ministers recognized the importance of continuing to address issues with  tobacco products and e-cigarettes, including taking action to address the  growing market for e-cigarettes.

Ministers  acknowledged yesterday’s federal announcement on flavoured tobacco and look  forward to continued discussions, specifically on e-cigarettes. They also call  on the federal government to develop a regulatory framework for e-cigarettes in  collaboration with provinces and territories.

Provincial  and territorial ministers look forward to a productive and robust discussion with  Minister Ambrose. Tomorrow’s federal, provincial and territorial meeting will  include discussions on prescription drug abuse, tobacco, drug shortages, Aboriginal  health, and the federal Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation.

British  Columbia will take over as chair of PT Conference of Health Ministers. Health ministers  agreed to add mental health and substance use to the agenda of the next  provincial and territorial health ministers meeting. Ministers thank Alberta  for their guidance and management over the past year and look forward to  British Columbia’s leadership on this portfolio.

Media  inquiries
Matthew Grant  
Press Secretary
Alberta Health