Federal government essential line of defense against health care privatization

January 23 2023

All federal health transfers should come with strong national standards to support public health care and reject US-style private care.

Federal funding for health care has fallen behind what is required, thanks to misguided austerity imposed by successive federal governments.

But, while health transfers must be increased, provinces and territories should not be able to spend federal money in ways that weaken the requirements that our system is universal, comprehensive, accessible, portable, and publicly administered.

Privatization, for-profit medical facilities, experiments with for-profit care, and for-profit care delivered through virtual health care systems, should all be red flags. We need to look no further than our patchwork systems of long-term care to see the damage done by chronic underfunding, the lack of national standards, and profit-based health care.

The failure of all levels of government to adequately invest has resulted in an alarming rate of job vacancies in the health care and social assistance sector. Those that remain working in the system are exhausted, stressed out, and traumatized.

Canada’s largest health care unions, which represent more than 600,000 health care workers nationwide, know that the best services come when the federal government:

  • provides adequate funding for health care;
  • sets evidence-based national standards of care; 
  • ensures all provinces and territories provide services that meet those standards. 

Each of these governments must commit to doing their part in ensuring everyone in Canada has access to the health care they deserve.

This post was adapted from a statement from CUPE National President Mark Hancock, CFNU President Linda Silas, NUPGE National President Larry Brown, and SEIU Canada Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart.