Amid a flurry of recent announcements, it’s clear that efforts to help a healthcare industry in crisis are kicking into high gear.
Driving the news: Since the start of the year, there’s been movement at both the federal and provincial levels towards addressing strains across the country’s healthcare systems, from expediting the approval of foreign-trained doctors to increasing funding for provinces.
- As the provinces run with their own healthcare strategies, they’re also in the midst of negotiations with the federal government to increase payments from the top down.
As provinces battle record-high wait times for healthcare services and treatment stemming from persistent labour shortages (amplified by burnout from the increasing demands of the job), the provinces have taken varying approaches, some more contested than others:
Ontario plans to send more publicly-funded, simple surgeries (like hip replacements) to private hospitals and begin fast-tracking certifications for healthcare professionals from the rest of Canada to work in Ontario, with the aim of reducing wait times.
Québec, Alberta, and BC already use private clinics to shorten waiting times, but the BC government recently said it’s shifting focus to addressing wait times in the public system, in part, citing the difficulties around monitoring illegal billing or upselling.
- Alberta’s new premier, Danielle Smith, said she’s not waiting for federal money to move forward with the province’s healthcare reform. Most provinces have maintained their calls for increased federal healthcare funding without any conditions.
Why it matters: Canada's population growth is hitting new heights thanks, in part, to record immigration. The country is also getting older. Current strains on the country's public healthcare systems are at risk of worsening if not addressed.