Canada signs $94 million bilateral agreement with Prince Edward Island to improve health care over three years

Canadians want and deserve a health care system that provides timely access to health services whenever and wherever they are needed. That is why the Government of Canada is investing over $200 billion over 10 years, which includes $25 billion for tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, to support the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians plan.

Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Canada's Minister of Health, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks, Canada's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, and the Honourable Mark McLane, Prince Edward Island's (PEI) Minister of Health and Wellness, announced a bilateral agreement to invest more than $94 million over the next three years, marking a crucial step in a 10-year plan for collaboration. This new funding by the Government of Canada will help accelerate efforts in PEI to improve health care access and services.

Through this federal funding, PEI has a 3-year action plan to deliver improvements to its health care system by 2026, including:

  • Building 16 new Patient Medical Homes and establishing a network of team-based health providers and services across the province through Patient Medical Neighbourhoods. These innovations will help ensure that all PEI residents, including those in rural and remote areas, can access family health services.
  • Supporting its health workforce by developing a strategic plan to recruit internationally educated health professionals and leveraging technology for streamlined training.
  • Guaranteeing students studying in health care fields will have a full-time position upon graduation.
  • Increasing access to diagnostic services by expanding laboratory services, extending hours of operation and reducing wait times for patients.
  • Continuing to invest in Mobile Mental Health units and Student Well-being Teams to reach an additional 2,500 patients by 2026 living in rural areas, underserved and vulnerable populations, and within Indigenous communities with mental health services.

Progress on these initiatives and broader commitments will be measured against targets which PEI will publicly report on annually.

Through this new agreement, PEI will improve how health information is collected, shared, used and reported to Canadians; streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals; facilitate the mobility of key health professionals within Canada; and fulfill shared responsibilities to uphold the Canada Health Act to protect Canadians' access to health care that is based on need, not the ability to pay.

Recognizing the significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes, the Government of Canada and of PEI also commit to meaningfully engage and work together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health care services. PEI's action plan is informed by continued engagement with its Indigenous partners and recent trilateral discussions involving the federal government. To help approach health decisions through a lens that promotes respect and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, PEI will be establishing an Indigenous health engagement committee, which includes the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations, ensuring PEI's two Mi'kmaq communities are involved in health policy decisions.

PEI and the federal government will continue working together to improve access to health services and deliver tangible results to all patients across the province, including responding to the needs of Indigenous and other underserved and disadvantaged populations.

"Canadians want and deserve better access to health services; and we need to act now to address the challenges in front of us. This agreement and action plan is an important step in our collaboration with Prince Edward Island to take measurable action to transform our health care system. Prince Edward Island's investment of a significant portion of the federal funding to expanding family health services to every Islander is a great step forward for PEI healthcare. Together with all provinces and territories, we will continue working to get better health outcomes for Canadians."

The Honourable Mark Holland
Canada's Minister of Health

"Mental health is health, and through this agreement, we will be working with PEI to integrate mental health and substance use care as a full and equal part of our universal health care system. With this critical investment, PEI will be able to continue investing in Mobile Mental Health units and Student Well-being Teams. Together, we must ensure that all Canadians have access to supports and services for their mental health and well-being—when they need them, wherever they need them."

The Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Canada's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

"Today is a great day for Islanders, and proof of what we can accomplish when we work together. This investment will make our health care system stronger and improve health outcomes and access to services for folks right across Prince Edward Island."

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"Collaboration with the federal government is key as we move forward to enhance health care across Prince Edward Island. Through this funding, we will be able to invest further in some of our top priorities, such as expanding patient medical homes, increasing international recruitment efforts, and so much more. We are continuously moving forward to improve health care outcomes for Island residents, and this is an excellent step in that direction."

The Honourable Mark McLane 
Prince Edward Island's Minister of Health and Wellness

Quick facts

  • The Working Together investment includes $25 billion for tailored bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, a guaranteed 5% Canada Health Transfer (CHT) increase for the next five years—amounting to $17.5 billion—and a one time CHT $2 billion top-up to address urgent needs of emergency rooms and paediatric hospitals delivered in June 2023. Combined, these investments provide provinces and territories the flexibility to address the unique needs of their populations and geography, and accelerate health care system improvements.
  • Budget 2023 outlined the Government of Canada's plan to invest over $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 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.
  • All provinces and territories are already making considerable investments to advance progress in all four of these priority areas, and the new federal funding is complementing and expanding those efforts.
  • As part of these bilateral agreements, provinces and territories are developing 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. PEI's initial 3-year Action Plan can be found here.
  • Budget 2017 committed $11 billion over 10 years in federal funding to provinces and territories to improve access to home and community care, and mental health and addictions services for Canadians. Bilateral agreements were signed with provinces and territories to access the first six years of funding. The final four years of funding for mental health and addictions are included in the new Working Together bilateral agreements.
  • 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 will include the remaining $2.4 billion over four years to improve access to home and community care from Budget 2017; and the $3 billion over five years for long-term care from Budget 2021 to apply standards of care in long-term care facilities and help support workforce stability.

Samantha Hughes
Senior Communications Officer
Health and Wellness

Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Alexander Fernandes
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121