‘A little bit’ of work left to do on health deal with feds, Ford says after meeting

More money for long-term care and home care tops premier's wish list

By Liam Casey and Allison Jones in Toronto

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he had a productive meeting Thursday with two federal ministers on Ottawa’s health-care funding offer, but there is still “a little bit” of work to do.

Ford and Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones met for about an hour at the provincial legislature with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

On the way into the meeting, Ford said he was looking for more money on home care and long-term care, and longer financial commitments from the federal government. 

After the meeting, Ford said the province and Ottawa share the same goal of improving health-care across the country, but he also needs to consult with his first minister colleagues across the country.

“It was a very productive meeting, there’s still a little bit of work to do,” Ford said, standing outside his office with the federal ministers. 

“Premiers, we stick together. We don’t look at political stripes. We’re doing the best for the interest of all Canadians.”

The federal government presented an offer Tuesday to the provinces and territories that includes $17 billion over 10 years added to the Canada Health Transfer. 

Ottawa would also provide an immediate, one-time $2-billion top-up to help ease pressures on emergency rooms and children’s hospitals, plus another $25 billion this year for family doctors, mental health, surgical backlogs and health data systems.

The provinces and territories said the offer would increase the federal share of health-care costs from 22 per cent to 24 per cent next year, far short of the 35 per cent they were seeking.

LeBlanc, who also met Wednesday night with Ford for some cigars, said both levels of government are trying to work together.

“It’s an issue that all of us care about deeply,” he said after Thursday’s meeting. “Premier Ford and the government of Ontario in our federation, have been and will always be leaders in these kinds of issues across the country.”

The premiers plan to speak virtually on Friday to discuss how they plan to respond.

Banner image: Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to members of the media during a press conference in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2023.

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