On July 18 Canadians will be sending provincial premiers and the Harper government a message to resume negotiations on the 2014 Health Accord.
Halifax (17 July 2012) - The federal government is turning its back on health care at a time when we need elected leaders to help build a caring future for Canada, say advocates of publicly-funded health care who are organizing a National Day of Action on the 2014 Health Accord set for July 18. Many are concerned that the federal government has already walked away from the negotiating table before negotiations have even started with the provinces. The current Health Accord expires in 2014.
At a meeting of Finance Ministers from across the country in December 2011, Flaherty announced that the federal government would extend the six per cent escalator clause, part of the 2004 Health Accord, for the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) only until the 2016-17 fiscal year. After that, until at least 2024, annual increases in the CHT will be tied to nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), criticized the Harper government for acting unilaterally rather than working in partnership with the provinces to improve health care.
"Canadians want the federal government to work in partnership with the provinces. not dictate terms and conditions," says Clancy. "Where was the consultation or negotiations? How are the provinces health care needs and priorities reflected in this announcement?"
Now, in the lead up to a premiers meeting on health care in Halifax on July 25 - July 27, Clancy is urging the provinces to work with Canadians to pressure the government to go back to the table and negotiate fairly.
"There is still much more to be accomplished at the negotiating table," Clancy noted. "The provinces will find common ground with Canadians on this issue. In addition to more investment, Canadians want the federal government to work with the provinces to fill in the gaps in the continuum of care. They want to see new programs and services in the areas of home care, long term care, prescription drug coverage (pharmacare) and mental health."
Some provinces have already come forward in opposition to the federal government’s actions. If the provinces work together to get the federal government back to the negotiating table, they can get down to the work of creating a new accord and building a caring future for health care in Canada.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE