Feds fund to improve health care in Newfoundland and Labrador


Corner – Canadians want and deserve a health care system that provides timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed. That is why the Government of Canada is investing close to $200 billion over 10 years to support the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians plan.

Mark Holland, Canada’s Minister of Health, Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of Ya’ara Saks, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced a bilateral agreement to invest almost $256 million to improve health care access and services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide nearly $256 million to support Newfoundland and Labrador’s three-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system. The plan will:

  • Expand access to family health services
  • Increase health workers and health services to reduce backlogs
    • Institute models of care that address surgical backlogs and increase access to health services, including by expanding orthopaedic surgeries in Carbonear;
    • Support models of care that enable health care providers, including pharmacists, to expand their scope of practice by prescribing more medications;
    • Pilot a new physician assistants program and continue to increase midwifery positions across the province;
    • Increase the number of targeted incentive programs for difficult to fill positions and increase programs designed to increase retention of health care workers, including programs to support career development; and,
    • Add new undergraduate medical education seats and new Family Medical Residency positions for international medical graduates at Memorial University.
  • Increase mental health and substance use services
    • Increase the number of people with access to mental health teams;and
    • Improve access to services for rural and Indigenous communities and offer community-based services, substance use support, and innovative online mental health services.
  • Modernize health data systems to ensure more patients can access care
    • Increase the number of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who can access their own health record electronically;
    • Expand virtual care for rural and remote communities; and
    • Implement a province-wide emergency response dispatch centre.

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

Through this new agreement, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador 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 Newfoundland and Labrador also commit to meaningfully engaging and working together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. Newfoundland and Labrador’s action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and supported by the 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.

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

“This agreement marks a significant advancement for our health care system, promising improved care for residents and improving the overall resilience of our health care infrastructure. Tailored to Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique requirements, this agreement ensures enhanced health care services for all residents.” – Mark Holland, Minister of Health

“Under the Working Together agreement, we’re partnering with Newfoundland and Labrador to increase mental health and substance use services for people throughout the province, including Indigenous communities. Today’s agreement is an important step forward as we work to ensure that all Canadians have access to quality and timely mental health and substance use support.” – Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health