The premiers of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario met in Moncton on Monday, calling on Ottawa to increase health care funding to 35 per cent – a jump of 13 per cent.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs hosted the meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King.
An increase would help provinces respond to current challenges in the health care system, such as hiring, and ensuring it remains sustainable, the premiers said.
“The current health care system is under considerable strain and money alone is not the solution,” said the premiers in a press release.
“Innovative approaches in technology, health human resources and intergovernmental collaboration will be required.”
They said the strain comes after “years of chronic under-funding” on the federal level. A 50/50 partnership between governments has dwindled to 22 per cent in federal funding.
A strengthened pan-Canadian approach is required to prioritize the country’s need for medications to address supply issues, the premiers said.
The premiers called for increased support to close the skills gap in Canada, something which is most acutely felt in the healthcare sector.
“Making it easier for internationally trained doctors, nurses and other health professionals to become licensed in Canada would help address shortages in the short term,” the premiers said.
They called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give provinces and territories more flexibility over the types and number of workers needed to address their unique labour markets.
The premiers also discussed Canada’s energy security and the want to enhance it through zero and low-emission energy sources, as well as recruiting and retaining immigrants.
They said the country’s energy sector has the potential to provide secure and responsibly produced energy for Canadians, neighbouring countries and allies.
The Atlantic region can supply renewable energy through wind and tidal power, while Ontario can provide small-scale nuclear reactors and green hydrogen developments.
The premiers said they would “continue to work together to promote the development” of new energy sources so Canadians can access “affordable and sustainable” energy supplies.