As you know, members, in the recent Speech from the Throne, our government committed to expanding the national anti-drug strategy to address this very issue of prescription drug abuse. And I know that your work here at committee will provide much needed information on this important topic.
This is my first appearance before the committee as Minister of Health, so I would like to take a few moments to discuss how I will be approaching my role in general, before getting into some priority areas.
As evidenced in budget 2013 and also reiterated in the recent Speech from the Throne, health is a key priority for the government. In my opinion, one of the keys to success is finding new and better ways of working together. I can assure the committee that fostering partnerships and building relationships with the provinces and territories, with medical associations and health professionals, will be fundamental tenets of my time as health minister. This is noteworthy because we know there is nothing more important than good health.
Federally, we play a vital role when it comes to promoting healthy living, preventing chronic diseases, protecting Canadians from harm, innovating through research, and providing leadership on national health issues. But of course we can't do any of this alone. We all have a role to play when it comes to improving the health of Canadians.
A key achievement of our government has been to increase health transfers to the provinces and territories to unprecedented levels. Our record funding will reach $40 billion by the end of the decade, providing stability and predictability to the system. These transfer dollars support the provinces and territories in addressing the health concerns of their residents and allow all jurisdictions to focus on innovative solutions to their health care needs. As the new federal health minister, I take that responsibility very seriously, and I'm committed to each aspect of the portfolio. However, today I'd like an opportunity to highlight four key areas of interest before getting into the details of the portfolio's supplementary estimates. These include addressing family violence, fostering innovation in health care, working with partners on healthy living and injury prevention, and providing Canadians with healthy and safe food.
As I have in the past, I will continue to shine a spotlight on family violence, an important issue, and encourage Canadians to be part of the solution. Family violence, as you know, can wreak physical and emotional havoc on individuals, families, and communities. Violence in any form reverberates across our society, and of course across the economy as well. According to Justice Canada, spousal violence alone costs society at least $7.4 billion annually. Of that, approximately $6 billion was spent on medical treatment and psychological services alone.
From my perspective, family violence is a health matter—just as much as a criminal one.
To help address it, as you know, we have the federal family violence initiative that connects the work of 15 federal departments and agencies. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading this work to make sure this initiative is focused on priorities that make a difference to Canadians.
Another focal point I'd like to touch on centres around innovation, technology, and research, all of which are obviously linked. At the federal-provincial-territorial health ministers meeting in early October in Toronto, I was very encouraged to hear from my colleagues that they've expressed their desire to make health care innovation our top priority in working together. It was also obviously well received at the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association as a priority for physicians. Federally, our government supports research and innovation through a range of initiatives. Most notably, of course, is the fact that we are the single largest investor in Canadian health innovation.
On any given day, thousands of federally funded research projects are under way involving more than 13,000 Canadian researchers. These researchers are developing cutting-edge technologies designed to help improve our health care system. We will continue to invest in research and innovation so that together with the provinces and territories we can continue to improve the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of our system so that it's there for Canadians when and where they need it.
On another note, ensuring that Canadian children and youth get the healthiest start in life is a key priority for our government. One in three children in Canada right now are overweight or obese. On average, only 12% of Canadian children take part in enough physical activity on a daily basis. These are truly alarming statistics. In the recent Speech from the Throne, our government committed to working with our provincial and territorial counterparts, as well as the private and not-for-profit sector, to support Canadian children and youth in leading healthy active lifestyles.
Awareness and momentum are growing. We are seeing strong leadership across the country to work towards the common objective.
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada, we are now mobilizing with groups like Canadian Tire, Right to Play, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Air Miles, and the YMCA. By leveraging our resources and theirs and ideas across sectors, we're laying a foundation for sustainable change.
Another area of interest and focus that I have, and the department is working on, revolves around injury prevention, a topic of such importance that it was also specifically highlighted in the recent Speech from the Throne. Unfortunately, preventable injury is the leading cause of death for Canadians aged 1 to 44 years. Often considered accidents, preventable injuries are far more common than people think, and of course all are most often predictable and most often preventable. Preventable injury is also a concern from a health equity perspective.
An injury can happen to anyone at any time, but children, youth, seniors, aboriginal people, and those of low socio-economic status carry a higher burden of injury than other Canadians. By working together and leveraging our resources, we can reduce the number of preventable injuries in this country and make a real, tangible difference in the lives of Canadians. Going forward, we will continue to build on new partnerships, raise awareness about injury prevention, and give Canadians the tools they need to live safer, healthier lives.
I also want to touch upon the issue of healthy and safe food for Canadians and why this is such a focus for our government. As committee members know, Canadians are fortunate to have a world-class food safety system. But that said, we must always be looking for ways to improve it.
Earlier this fall our government moved the Canadian Food Inspection Agency into the broader health portfolio. This decision takes the three federal authorities responsible for food safety—the CFIA, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada—and places them under one umbrella. We did this because food safety is not only a top priority for our government, but we do feel that by better connecting these three entities, we are improving the way we manage food safety, as well as regulating, sharing information, and communicating with Canadians about food safety.
One of the accomplishments stemming from that reorganization was the recent release of the document I just shared with you: the healthy and safe foods for Canadians framework. This framework outlines the portfolio's work on food safety as it pertains to three key pillars: promotion, prevention, and protection. With this in place, Canadians can have greater confidence in the food they buy and eat.
We're also improving food recall warnings by making important information easier to understand and more accessible by tapping into such things as social media. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or other tools, we are also trying to provide Canadians with essential, easy to understand information whenever and wherever they need it.
Now, under the healthy and safe foods for Canadians framework, we have all the researchers, inspectors, scientists, and public health officers working together with a common goal.
As outlined in the recent Speech from the Throne, we will continue and we are committed to strengthening Canada's food inspection regimes and ensuring that our food safety and recall system remains one of the best in the world.
As l've mentioned, with respect to this appearance, the agency is seeking an additional $39.9 million to further enhance its ability to maintain increased frequency of food inspections in meat processing establishments, improve online service delivery, and fund inspection verification teams.
To conclude, Mr. Chair, l'm proud of the vital role our government plays in health care in this country.
As Minister of Health, l'm committed to investing in health promotion by working with provinces, territories, and other partners, of course, on delivery of high-quality, cost-effective health care, by promoting innovation and health research, and by providing federal leadership on the areas that matter a great deal to Canadians.
Once again, thank you for inviting me to speak with you today.
My officials and I are pleased to take any questions you may have.