Conference of Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Health

NEWS RELEASE – Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers  Focus on Strengthening Health Care for All Canadians

NEWS - October 17, 2016

During a meeting today in Toronto, Ontario, the provincial and  territorial health ministers discussed several key areas of work including  mental health services, Indigenous health care, improving the affordability and  accessibility of pharmaceutical drugs, and exploring how to use health care  innovation to make accessing health care easier for all Canadians.  

Provincial and territorial Health ministers were joined by their  provincial and territorial finance ministers for a discussion on the long-term  financial sustainability of health care for all Canadians.

"Provincial and territorial ministers are united in their commitment to  strengthen health care for Canadians in the face of emerging challenges," said  Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, who chaired  the meeting. "As we approach the 50th anniversary of Medicare and  renew our commitment to publicly funded health care, we must ensure that we are  making all the efforts needed to address evolving issues, including access to  mental health services."

Provincial and  Territorial Health and Finance Ministers' Discussion

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the health  care systems in Canada and for providing health care to Canadians. It is the  single largest component of every provincial and territorial budget  representing upwards of 40 per cent of their respective annual expenditures.  When Medicare started it was an equal funding partnership. Provinces currently  fund nearly 80 per cent of government expenditures on health care; in  territories up to 90 per cent. Provinces and territories also count on  transfers from the federal government to help meet the current and growing  health needs of Canadians.

The Canada Health Transfer provides long-term  stable and predictable funding and is an essential mechanism for ensuring the  sustainability of provincial and territorial health systems. The federal reduction in the CHT escalator  would result in the loss of $60 billion over ten years. A stable financial base  is the foundation for ensuring essential health care services for all  Canadians. This will take into consideration health care system challenges, such as changing  demographics and incidence of chronic disease.

Indigenous Health

Ministers renewed their commitment to work together in partnership with  Indigenous leaders in their respective jurisdictions to enhance the  coordination, continuity and appropriateness of health care services for  Indigenous peoples.

Ministers recognize the enormous health challenges faced by many  Indigenous people and communities throughout Canada. They shared information  about work underway with Indigenous organizations in their respective  jurisdictions to address key regional priorities and improve health outcomes.

Provincial and territorial Ministers noted that it remains important for  the federal government to fully assume its role and responsibilities for  Indigenous health.  


For over six years, the provinces and territories have been pioneering  work to improve the affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of  prescription drugs. This includes work on brand name drugs, generic drugs, and  special categories of drugs that bring forward particularly complex and  difficult challenges. This work was initiated through the Health Care  Innovation Working Group.

Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together – and with the  federal government, which joined the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance  (pCPA) last year – to address difficult decisions, including the need to have a  more consistent assessment of drug coverage and fair pricing strategies.

Ministers discussed the advantages gained through the pCPA, which has  resulted in more than $712 million in combined savings annually. A further  reduction in the price of six high volume generic drugs through the Generics  Bridging Strategy starting April 1, 2017 is expected to save governments an  additional $75 million next fiscal year.

Ontario offered to continue progress with the Working Group focused on  improving access, affordability, and appropriateness for essential drugs for  all children, reporting back to provinces and territories at their next  meeting.

Québec is committed to  working with provinces and territories to address the challenges of the rising  cost of medications, but coverage decision remains its sole responsibility.

Health  Care Innovation Working Group

The mandate of the Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG), created  in 2012, was renewed by Canada's premiers this past summer. Today, ministers  discussed its new mandate which focuses on using technology and innovation to  improve affordability, predictability and patient care.

Mental Health and Addictions

The health ministers reaffirmed the importance of improving care for  young people who outgrow child and youth mental health and addiction services  as they move into adult systems. Ministers committed to further collaborative  work to foster innovative, integrated mental health and substance use services  for youth and young adults.

The ministers also discussed the need to explore opportunities to  further develop services for people living with mental illness and addiction.

Federal, Provincial  and Territorial Meeting

The provincial and territorial health ministers look forward to  productive discussions tomorrow with federal health minister Jane Philpott.

Following the meeting, Alberta's Minister of Health, Sarah Hoffman, will  assume the role of chair of the provincial and territorial health ministers  meeting and co-chair of the federal, provincial and territorial health  ministers meeting.

For  public inquiries call ServiceOntario,  INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)

Media  Contacts:
Shae  Greenfield, Minister’s Office, 416-325-5230
David  Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
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