Social Justice and Democracy

Health investments must be tied to stronger public health care

February 1, 2022

Bruske: Increased health transfers must improve public health – not become tax giveaways to people who don’t need it

OTTAWA––With our public health systems facing a crisis point, Canada’s unions are demanding that increases to federal health transfers must be tied to delivering better health care to Canadian families.

“We see dire shortages of health workers across the country. Long-term care residents and workers struggle while private owners extract large profits. Mental health care for people to access when they need help most. Families struggle to pay for needed medicine. People want their governments to now work together on practical solutions,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “With the future of our cherished public health system at stake, a no-strings-attached approach just doesn’t cut it.”

Bruske noted that whether it was Jason Kenney in Alberta, Doug Ford in Ontario, or recent governments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Conservative governments have a pattern of cutting health care while spending more on tax giveaways to people who didn’t need it.

“The simple reality is, handing out blank cheques to Conservative premiers won’t fix nursing shortages, repair long-term care, provide better mental health services or implement pharmacare,” said Bruske. “Provinces are facing a health funding crisis and the answer must include increased transfers. But we cannot afford for some provinces to take this money and use if for tax giveaways instead of stronger public health care.”

Bruske added that after almost two years of COVID-19 straining our health care system, it is vital that governments learn the right lessons from the pandemic.

“The pandemic showed us the hard way how our health care system has been underfunded for years. It must be bolstered now to handle the next crisis,” concluded Bruske. “Canada’s unions will keep pushing for new investments to be tied to achieving real improvement to our public health care systems.”

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