Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 18: Health (18-24)

More doctors, more nurses, shorter wait times in Manitoba

February 15, 2024

NationTalk: Together, the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba are working to bring the health care workers we need to the front lines so we can cut wait times and deliver the best possible care to Manitobans.

Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, alongside the Premier of Manitoba, Wab Kinew, announced over $633 million in funding to improve health care in Manitoba. Through the Working Together Agreement, the Government of Canada will provide close to $434 million to support Manitoba’s three-year action plan to improve health care, and approximately $199 million through the Aging with Dignity Agreement to support their five-year action plan to improve home, community, and long-term care for seniors.

Under the Working Together agreement, Manitoba will move forward with its commitments to fix the damage done to health care, starting with staffing shortages. The funding will support Manitoba’s goal to hire 400 more doctors, 300 more nurses, 200 paramedics, and 100 home care workers. These targeted investments will help to add more acute and medicine beds to Manitoba’s health care system, ease the pressure on crowded emergency rooms, and expand primary care options to families so they can spend more time doing what they love to do, and less time waiting for care.

Together, Canada and Manitoba are working to remove barriers for internationally trained doctors and health professionals to practise in Manitoba. This includes removing barriers to foreign credential recognition, simplifying licensing processes, and increasing program access to educated and skilled health professionals. Manitoba will make it easier for health workers to move within Canada so they spend less time dealing with red tape and more time helping patients in need.

Manitoba will hire more psychologists to help reduce wait times for counselling and double hospital spaces for those experiencing homelessness and needing comprehensive health care and treatment. Additionally, the Province will support addictions treatment services, peer support, and other community-based mental health initiatives.

Through the Aging with Dignity agreement, Manitoba will ensure all seniors are able to age with dignity and respect. The province will better support seniors who want to age at home, in community, or in personal care homes. To improve the quality of long-term care, the province will increase safety and standards and hire more long-term care workers to ensure clean, quality, and personalized care. Manitoba will also create a Seniors Advocate to act as an independent, strong voice for seniors and their families.

The federal and provincial governments will engage and work with Indigenous Peoples to address gaps and systemic inequities in Indigenous health care services and improve access to culturally safe care. Under the agreement, funds will support Indigenous families through Granny’s House, a project that provides culturally safe, and community-led care to children and families. Funding will also support Indigenous-led treatment programs that provide culturally safe and relationship-based individualized care for youth. As we move forward on the shared path of reconciliation, safe and timely health care is a priority for Indigenous communities.

This investment is part of the Government of Canada’s larger work to invest over $200 billion to improve health care, including through tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories as well as $5.4 billion for Aging with Dignity agreements. Through the agreements announced today, the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba will deliver better results for patients, support health workers, and protect our health care system now and into the future.

“Canadians value universal public health care. That’s why we’re signing agreements with provinces and territories to make health care work better for Canadians. Today’s agreements with Manitoba will help hire more health workers, reduce wait times, support seniors, and make sure Canadians get the care they need, when they need it.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Fixing the health care staffing shortage is job number one for our government – that means more support for the bedside instead of the bureaucracy. We will work with the Government of Canada to hire more doctors and more nurses into our system, so we can start to cut wait times and deliver the best care possible for Manitobans.”

The Hon. Wab Kinew, Premier of Manitoba

“Keeping public health care available to everyone is crucial for Canadians, and they trust us to work together to address challenges in our health care system. These agreements and action plans, reflecting Manitoba’s priorities, are a step in the right direction to improve access to care across the province. Working with all provinces and territories, we aim to make Canada’s health care system better for everyone.”

The Hon. Mark Holland, Minister of Health

“Through collaborative efforts, we are working together to bridge the gap and make meaningful strides in mental health care provision. The aim is to ensure that residents in Manitoba have equitable access to a comprehensive and high-quality spectrum of mental health and well-being support services. By investing in these initiatives, they are aspiring to meet the evolving needs of their communities and contribute to the overall mental health and resilience of the people they serve.”

The Hon. Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Manitoba families and seniors deserve quality care, close to home. Today’s announcement will open new beds throughout our system, put more doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals at the bedside, reduce wait times, and improve the culture in health care throughout our province.”

The Hon. Uzoma Asagwara, Manitoba’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care

“These investments will reduce wait times and help more Manitoba families and kids get the mental health care they need. It’s a key part of our plan to improve mental health services to ensure Manitobans are supported and well in their communities.”

The Hon. Bernadette Smith, Manitoba’s Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness and Minister responsible for Mental Health

Quick Facts

  • Today’s agreements reinforce Canada’s and Manitoba’s commitment to protect Canadians’ access to health care based on need, not their ability to pay, as outlined in the Canada Health Act.
  • Manitoba’s three-year, Working Together action plan can be found here and Aging with Dignity action plan here. Progress on the Province’s initiatives and broader commitments under this new agreement will be measured against targets which the Province will publicly report on annually.
  • The federal government works collaboratively and in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities to support improved access to high quality, culturally appropriate health services, greater Indigenous control of health services, and improved health outcomes. Each year, the federal government invests approximately $5 billion in Indigenous health.
  • Under the Working Together agreement, Manitoba will use funds to support Indigenous families through Granny’s House, a project that provides culturally safe, and community-led care to children and families. Funding will also support Indigenous-led treatment programs that provide culturally safe and relationship-based individualized care for youth.
  • Under Aging with Dignity agreement, Manitoba will:
    • increase the safety and wellness of seniors by developing a hearing aid program and increasing services to victims of elder abuse;
    • improve access to community supports including the establishment of a safe and healthy home for seniors program that supports home modification grants, and the expansion of dementia supports to reduce wait times from three weeks to 48 hours for their First Link program;
    • improve health services by increasing the number of clients to 1,700 per year in the Self and Family Managed Care program and by expanding palliative care services reaching 600 clients per year;
    • support long-term care safety and standards, including increased infection prevention and control measures to support resident safety; and
    • increase the quality of long-term care through staffing expansion to increase the hours of direct care each resident receives.
  • Budget 2023 outlined the Government of Canada’s plan to invest close to $200 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding for provinces and territories, to improve health care for Canadians. Within this funding, $25 billion is allocated through tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to address the unique needs of their populations and geography in four shared health priorities:
    • expanding access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas;
    • supporting health workers and reducing backlogs;
    • increasing mental health and substance use support; and
    • modernizing health care systems with health data and digital tools.
  • The Government is also working with provinces and territories to implement a second bilateral agreement focused on helping Canadians age with dignity close to home, with access to home care or care in a safe long-term care facility. This agreement includes the remaining $2.4 billion ($600 million per year from 2023-24 to 2026-27) to improve access to home and community care from Budget 2017; and the $3 billion ($600 million per year from 2023-24 to 2027-28) for long-term care from Budget 2021 to apply standards of care in long-term care facilities and help support workforce stability.
  • The agreements with Manitoba mark the third jurisdiction to have announced both Working Together and Aging with Dignity agreements, following British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, have announced Working Together agreements.
  • All provinces and territories are already making considerable investments to advance progress in all four priority areas, and this new federal funding is complementing and expanding those efforts.
  • As part of bilateral agreements, provinces and territories are asked to develop action plans that outline how funds will be spent and how progress will be measured to demonstrate to Canadians that improvements are occurring in Canada’s health care system.
  • In addition to tailored bilateral agreements, the federal government is supporting provinces and territories through:
    • Guaranteed Canada Health Transfer (CHT) increases of at least five per cent from 2023-24 to 2027-28 (amounting to $17.5 billion over 10 years in additional funding through the CHT); and
    • A one-time CHT $2 billion top-up to address the urgent needs of emergency rooms and paediatric hospitals, which was delivered in June 2023.
  • As part of its investment of close to $200 billion over 10 years to improve health care for people in Canada, the Government of Canada is providing $2 billion for the new Indigenous Health Equity Fund to make further progress on Indigenous health priorities across the country.
  • Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s recent announcement that up to $86 million will be provided to 15 organizations across the country to increase the capacity for foreign credential recognition of approximately 6,600 internationally educated health care professionals. This investment through the Foreign Credential Recognition Program will help ensure highly educated and skilled immigrants receive proper recognition for their international credentials in Canada.

Associated Links