Ford makes ‘recommendations’ on fed health deal as premiers agree to accept offer

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford made “specific recommendations” on the sustainability of a new health-care deal, his office said Monday, as the country’s premiers agreed to formally accept Ottawa’s offer.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, the chair for the group of premiers known as the Council of the Federation, said they agreed to accept the deal but will also insist the money continue to flow for more than 10 years.

The premiers met virtually Monday, nearly a week after Ottawa offered more than $46 billion to provinces and territories to augment the Canada Health Transfer.

The premiers say the deal amounts to a bump in the feds’ share of health-care dollars to 24 per cent from 22 per cent — less than the 35 per cent share premiers called for.

Ford has said Ontario will take any new health-care dollars, but wants a commitment much longer than the 10 years Ottawa has proposed.

“Premier Ford put forward specific recommendations that he is confident the federal government will accept that ensures the agreement is sustainable and provides certainty for all provinces and territories, including Ontario,” Ford’s office said in a statement following the premiers’ meeting Monday.

His office said those recommendations, which it did not disclose, are data driven and that personal health information would be protected.

Stefanson also did not identify many specifics of Ford’s proposal but said the idea is to ensure that Ottawa keeps funding targeted programs for the long-term.

That could be through extended agreements or by adding that money to the annual Canada Health Transfer after the first 10 years is over.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the deal comes with strings attached, including sharing data to build a national database on health care.

Ford and Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones met last week with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos after the federal government presented its offer to premiers.

Ford has said any new money on health care would go toward hiring more doctors and nurses as well as investments in home care and long-term care.

Ottawa is also working out separate bilateral deals with provinces and territories to address needs specific to those jurisdictions.

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