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Canadian healthcare spending to hit record high in 2013-2014

Richard Pizzi, Editorial Director, HIMSS Media

Healthcare spending by the Canadian federal government will reach a record high level of $30.3 billion in 2013-14, according to an announcement made this week by the nation’s Ministry of Health.

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of Health, said Canada Health Transfer (CHT) would grow at 6 per cent per year, from $28.6 billion in 2012-13 to a projected $37.7 billion in 2017-18, exceeding the current growth rate of provincial healthcare spending. CHT is the Canadian government's transfer payment program that supports the health systems of the individual provinces and territories.

“Our government is committed to a strong, publicly funded, universally accessible healthcare system for Canadians," said Aglukkaq in a statement. “With the actions our government has taken to grow transfers to provinces and territories to record sustainable levels, we are helping ensure healthcare and other vital services will be there for Canadian families when and where they need them."

Starting in 2017-18, the CHT will grow in line with a three-year moving average of nominal GDP growth, with funding guaranteed to increase by at least 3 per cent per year.

“All major federal transfers to provinces and territories will continue to grow from current record levels, at a sustainable and affordable rate," said Jim Flaherty, Canada’s finance minister. “These transfers will total $62 billion in 2013-14, representing an increase of almost 50 per cent since 2006.”

In addition to the CHT, the federal government provides transfers to the provinces and territories in support of education, childcare and social services through the Canada Social Transfer (CST).

Flaherty said the Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing Programs also ensure that provinces and territories can provide Canadians access to reasonably comparable programs and services at comparable levels of taxation.

"These record investments in health and social priorities will be supported by a Canadian economy that is powered by Economic Action Plan 2013," said Flaherty. "This plan introduces a bold and innovative skills training initiative, the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in Canadian history, and significant new investments to support manufacturing and innovation in Canada."

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