By: Hon. Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West
On March 8, the world marks International Women’s Day, an occasion to celebrate women and girls and raise awareness about the need to achieve true gender equality. As we work to create opportunities for women, remove the barriers they face professionally, and end gender-based violence, let’s recommit ourselves to embracing equity everywhere in Canadian society. I am very much looking forward to attending IWD events in our community this month, and I encourage you to join some as well.
Wherever I go, I hear about people’s concerns about the strain our universal public health care system is facing. Although health care is a provincial responsibility, Nova Scotians (rightly) expect all their leaders to step up, collaborate, and reinforce the system we all rely on. I’m pleased to say that that is exactly what our federal government is doing.
On February 7, the Prime Minister announced our plan for major new investments in public health care for Canadians. It’s a plan that increases funding while ensuring that we can track health outcomes so you can see the progress being made and the gaps left to address. I’m proud to share that, on the 23rd, our government reached an agreement in principle with the province to deliver on our goal of strengthening public health care and supporting health workers.
Here are the highlights for Nova Scotia:
- Over the next ten years, our plan will invest $4.81 billion in federal funding in health care for Nova Scotians.
- This includes negotiating a new $1.01 billion bilateral agreement focusing on our shared priorities: family health services, a better supported health workforce, mental health and addictions services, and access to electronic health records for you and your care providers.
- $52 million will be invested immediately to address urgent needs, like in our pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and long wait times for surgeries.
- The province will need to continue making its own investments and improve how health information is collected, shared, used, and reported.
- We will continue working together to improve home care and long-term care, while streamlining foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals.
- The federal government will also invest $1.7 billion in wage increases for personal support workers and related professions.
This new plan represents a true Team Canada approach. I’m encouraged by our collaboration, and I look forward to seeing improvements in care for patients and better working conditions for our health care heroes.