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View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Coming from northern Ontario, I can tell you that.... I look at my colleague, MP Powlowski, who is a physician in northern Ontario and probably has more expertise than I do on what the demand is in northern Ontario, but it is certainly something that I hear at the door all the time. The struggle to access primary care is real, and it is more real in some parts of the country where there is a shortage of physicians or a shortage of primary care people.
It is at the front of everybody's mind. Obviously, we believe that every Canadian should have access to a primary care physician. I think a time like a coronavirus crisis or other kinds of public health crises drive home the importance of a public health care system that is accessible. The primary health care teams that we know are doing such a great job all across the country, obviously, feel very strongly as well that they need extra capacity to deal with the demand that people are saying they have.
This will require a partnership with the provinces and territories. As we have spoken about in responding to the coronavirus, everything we do in the health portfolio is in partnership with the provinces and territories. There's a jurisdictional responsibility for them to provide the care and for the federal government to be a partner in providing that care.
We have made significant investments, with close to $42 billion provided to provinces and territories this year through the Canada health transfer. That is a significant increase. It's nearly $10 billion more than what was provided in the last year of the Conservative government. They left office in 2015.
This is about stability, predictability and long-term funding that acknowledges the rising costs. We have an aging population, as you know. Things are more expensive. Salaries go up. We have to be reflective of the fact that costs rise, and we have to keep pace with those rising costs.
We're going to continue to work with the provinces and territories to reach that goal so that everybody has access to primary care. I'm looking forward to the innovation that's happening in this space all across the country. Many provinces are trying really neat things to deal with remote communities that have very poor access. As that develops, I will definitely come back and report more.
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