Unifor welcomes federal-provincial health funding with call for focused investment

February 9, 2024


TORONTO – Unifor welcomes the announcement of a new agreement between the federal and Ontario governments that promises to inject $3.1 billion in federal funding into the province’s health care system.

“Today’s announcement comes as a vital boost for Ontario’s health care system that’s facing immense strain,” said Lana Payne. “The agreement comes at a critical time as Ontario’s health care system faces severe staffing shortages, a historic high in the number of patients without a family doctor, and escalating wait times in hospital emergency rooms. We must ensure that these funds are not siphoned off by private interests but are directed where they will strengthen Ontario’s public health care system.”

The “Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care” is a result of negotiations following a national health funding summit in February 2023 where the federal government announced a significant increase in federal health transfers to the provinces, totaling $17.3 billion over the next ten years. Additionally, a further $25 billion has been pledged over the same period for bilateral agreements that focus on four federal priorities: enhancing access to family health services, increasing the health care workforce, bolstering mental health and addiction services, and modernizing health data collection. The agreement with Ontario is the fifth agreement announced, after British ColumbiaPrince Edward IslandAlberta, and Nova Scotia.

“The rapid push towards privatization in Ontario’s health care by the provincial government is deeply troubling,” said Samia Hashi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “This trend not only undermines public hospital staffing and increases wait times but also paves the way for a two-tier health care system, where profits overshadow patient needs. With every step towards for-profit care, from surgeries to long-term care, we move further from the principles of equity and quality in health care. We must ensure that the new funding prioritizes patients over profits.”

Unifor remains committed to advocating for a strong, accessible, and public health care system across the country. The union plans to engage in discussions with both federal and provincial governments, aiming to strategically direct the new funding for the greatest public benefit.