Charest commits to ending lockdowns by revitalizing Canada’s healthcare system

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April 21, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario – Today, the Jean Charest campaign released its plan to end the cycle of lockdowns and bring the Canadian health care system off life support. Conservatives recognize that healthcare is an area of provincial jurisdiction and for too long federal overreach has hindered progress and reduced Canadians’ faith in quality health care.

As other countries reopened safely, Canadians were subjected to multiple lockdowns because our healthcare system was unable to cope. A Charest government would ensure that we change our healthcare system to spare Canadians the heavy burden of lockdowns.

To protect Canadians’ health and prosperity, a Charest government would fundamentally reform Canada’s healthcare system to preserve its long-term sustainability while protecting an aging population, empowering our frontline healthcare workers, and decreasing the roadblocks in the system.

“In every category, from ICU and hospital beds per capita, to doctors and nurses per capita, to wait times for basic procedures, Canada is near the bottom of the OECD rankings despite spending more than most countries that outperform us. More empty promises are not the answer,” said Jean Charest. “It’s time to untie the hands of the provinces and let them develop their own unique systems based on local needs and without the federal government interfering in their jurisdiction.”

This means tabling a new National Healthcare Act to give provinces and territories significantly more flexibility in delivering care. All services would continue under single-payer provincial public insurance programs, retaining the core principles of universality and portability. Each province will have the right to determine what model works best. These reforms will give the provinces freedom, reduce wait times and bureaucratic backlogs, improve capacity, and protect our system for the future.

“Justin Trudeau has shown he would rather keep Canadians locked at home than reform our health care system. After two years of pandemic restrictions, it is clear we need healthcare innovation, not ideology,” Jean Charest continued. “My plan will give provinces the freedom to make the changes needed to prevent further lockdowns and ensure the sustainability of our public healthcare system.”

Charest’s bold approach to healthcare includes:

  • After consultations with provinces, tabling a new National Healthcare Act to enable reforms to the Canada Health Act and then increasing transfers to the provinces.
  • Allowing provinces to undertake reforms so they can determine their own healthcare delivery models in line with national principles and the publicly funded provincial insurance programs.
  • Incentivizing Canadian healthcare entrepreneurs and private providers to foster innovation, cost containment, improved patient service, reduced wait times and widespread adoption of best practices.
  • Shifting certain non-urgent surgeries and procedures, which were too often cancelled throughout the pandemic, out of hospitals with delivery options paid for by single-payer public insurance.
  • Creating a $10 billion healthcare infrastructure fund to invest in our hospitals’ healthcare infrastructure and long-term care homes.
  • Empowering healthcare workers by creating mobility through nationally approved standards and fast-tracking skilled immigrants to the sector.
  • Investigating the government’s pandemic response and reviewing Health Canada’s regulatory processes to ensure we are prepared for future crises, are relying on the world’s best data and have access to the critical medicines and vaccines Canadians need.

Backgrounder

Less government interference in health care, better health outcomes, no more lockdowns

Untie the provinces:

  • Each province will determine the right healthcare delivery model that works for them.
  • All services must continue under publicly funded provincial insurance programs and abide by the core principles of universality and portability.
  • Provinces will be permitted to determine their own model once they have undertaken core reforms.
  • Reform the Health Canada Act to provide clarity to provinces about which system changes are permitted, enabling more creativity and long-term planning while respecting single-payer provincial insurance programs.
  • Maintaining the existing 3% annual increase in the Canada Health Transfer while negotiating a new agreement to increase funding upon negotiating a new National Healthcare Act.

Empowering healthcare workers: 

  • Create national standards for labour mobility between provinces for healthcare workers, and for the provision of virtual care across provinces.
  • Fast-tracking and prioritizing healthcare workers applying for entry and residence.
  • Give the provinces unlimited Provincial Nominee Program slots for trained healthcare workers.

Preparing for the future:

  • Call a public inquiry into the Trudeau Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Review Health Canada’s regulatory processes to ensure swift procurement and supply of critical medicines and vaccines and get the federal government out of the medical red tape business and let doctors save lives.
  • Partnering with pharmaceutical companies to increase production of critical medicines and vaccines in Canada.
  • Reforming and properly funding Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network to map and effectively communicate future threats.
  • Invest in a Canadian-made PPE supply chain and rebuild our strategic stockpile.