Cutting wait times, delivering better health care in Ontario
For generations, universally accessible public health care has been a core part of what it means to be Canadian. It's built on a promise that no matter where you live or what you earn, you will always be able to get the medical care you need. Our universal health care system didn't happen by accident, and it won't continue without effort.
And let's be honest right now, we're facing significant challenges to health care right across the country. Access to family doctors and nurse practitioners is not what it needs to be. Emergency rooms are overwhelmed, people are waiting too long for surgeries. And health care workers, well, health care workers are under immense pressure, working in incredibly trying conditions. So, we are focused on addressing those challenges.
Last year, the federal government announced a major investment of $200 billion to strengthen our health care system. As part of this agreement, we said we'd work on tailored agreements with each province and territory to help address their unique challenges and needs. We've already reached agreements with British Columbia, PEI, Alberta and Nova Scotia, and today, we're immensely pleased to be here to announce an agreement with the province of Ontario.
Our government will be investing $3.1 billion to help Ontario increase access to primary care, reduce wait times for surgeries and for seeing specialists, hire more health care workers, ensure people have access to the mental health care they need and improve health care for Indigenous peoples.
Our government will invest $3.1 billion to help Ontario increase access to primary care, reduce wait times, hire more health care workers, ensure access to mental health care, and improve health care for Indigenous peoples.
The province will also modernize digital infrastructure in health; this means no more fax machines in hospitals. But it also means that health care providers, whether it's your pharmacist or your specialist, can securely access information about your health in a more convenient way, ultimately leading to better health outcomes for you and your family. This agreement will deliver real results.
As I’ve said, primary care will be one of the highest priorities. Ontario will set up new teams and improve access to family doctors and nurse practitioners.
Primary care is about having someone you trust, who knows you and your kids, and who makes sure that everyone gets the right care. It's about getting the help you need to find the right specialist if and when you need it. A family health team is there to be your entry point into the health care system, so you don't need to go to an emergency room. Of course, if we want to create new teams and increase access to primary care, we need more workers, so this is another big area of focus.
Enrolment in health care education programs will be expanded by over 700 spots, including over 70 in Northern Ontario, and we will help the province remove barriers to make it easier for Canadian and internationally trained doctors and health professionals to practice in Ontario. These are only a few examples of what this agreement will do; it's a transformative investment that will deliver real improvements and protect our health care system now and into the future.
But before I conclude, once again I would like to thank our health care workers, the nursing students I met just a few minutes ago, doctors, nurses, paramedics, care attendants and other health care workers who give their all to help Canadians. Thanks for taking care of us and our loved ones.
And to health care workers, I know it's been really tough over the past few years. You want to do good work, but you're stretched too thin or sometimes you don't have the right tools. Well, we're working hard to get you the reinforcements you need, and today's announcement will make a huge difference.
Let's keep working all together to fight for the Canada we need, a Canada that makes sure that everyone can count on high-quality, publicly accessible health care. Canada's the best country in the world. Let's keep working to make it even better.