March 18, 2024 | Regina, Saskatchewan | Health Canada

Canadians deserve a health care system that provides them with timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed, as well as the ability to age with dignity closer to home.

Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Everett Hindley, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health, and the Honourable Tim McLeod, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health announced two bilateral agreements to invest a total of more than $560 million in federal funding to improve health care in Saskatchewan.

Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will first provide close to  $391 million to support Saskatchewan’s three-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system. This will:

  • Improve access to family health services and acute and urgent care by supporting a Saskatchewan family physician payment model, expanding Saskatoon’s Chronic Pain Clinic, growing the Virtual Triage Physician program (VIBEX) through Healthline 8-1-1, and creating new permanent acute care and complex care beds in Regina and Saskatoon hospitals to reduce overcapacity.
  • Support the health workforce and help reduce backlogs through the recruitment of new health care workers, retention incentives for hard to recruit positions, and increasing clinical placements to support the expansion of 550 post-secondary training seats.
  • Expand the delivery of culturally appropriate mental health and substance use support and specialized care through overdose outreach teams, the continued expansion of Police and Crisis Teams, increasing addiction treatment spaces and rapid grief counselling by Family Services Saskatchewan and supporting youth facing mental health and addiction challenges.
  • Modernize health care systems with health data and digital tools by continuing investments in eHealth and health sector information technology

In addition, through the Aging with Dignity agreement, the Government of Canada will provide approximately $169.3 million to support Saskatchewan’s five-year action plan to enable residents to age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility. This will:

  • Enhance home and community care services through expanding Community Health Centres, outreach services and advancing the Patient Medical Home Model pilot.
  • Improve palliative care by supporting training for health workers in end-of-life care and increasing the number of health professionals to help patients and support palliative care.
  • Strengthen the quality of long-term care and home care services by increasing the number of front line care and continuing care providers and improving compliance with long-term care standards through inspections and follow-ups.

Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which Saskatchewan will publicly report on annually.

Through these new agreements, the Government of Saskatchewan will work with the Government of Canada to improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to uphold the Canada Health Act to protect Canadians’ access to health care based on need, not the ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan also commit to meaningfully engaging and working together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally-appropriate health care services. Saskatchewan’s action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. All levels of government will approach health decisions in their respective jurisdictions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Saskatchewan and the federal government will continue working together to improve health services for all patients across the province, including responding to the needs of Indigenous and other underserved and disadvantaged populations.

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By admin