Provincial, Territorial Health Ministers and Ministers Responsible for Mental Health, Addiction and Substance Use

Provincial/Territorial Health Ministers meet in Charlottetown

Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health met today to address a wide range of topics.  Some of these included Primary Care, Mental Health and Addiction, Health Human Resources challenges and Public Health priorities, and next steps regarding Digital Health and Health Data.  In round-table discussions, Ministers shared information about innovations within their own jurisdictions for others to consider and adapt.

“I am honored to host Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health here, in Prince Edward Island, this week to discuss a number of important health care priorities. Collaboration and communication are key in addressing challenges across the country and improving access to health care delivery for all Canadians.”

- Hon. Mark McLane, Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Health and Wellness

Ministers discussed the topic of mental health and addiction and expressed support to expand treatment and recovery services across jurisdictions. Ministers will continue to share best practices for addressing these challenges, especially toward building recovery-oriented systems of care for mental health and addiction.

Ministers are expanding and implementing various health human resource initiatives to meet current demands.  They also reaffirmed their support for the medical residency requirement for family medicine to remain at two years while provinces and territories are experiencing ongoing health human resource shortages.

Ministers expressed the need for a collaborative working relationship with the federal government which respects Provinces’ and Territories’ responsibility over the administration of their respective health systems, and the unique needs, circumstances, and priorities of each Provincial and Territorial government, to ensure all Canadians have access to high-quality health care. 

Ministers also received a timely and informative presentation from the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Ministers appreciated the insight and perspective offered by the presenters.

Ministers also learned about the excellent work being done during a presentation from the Prince Edward Island Alliance for Mental Well-Being.  

Ministers seek accelerated whole-of-government federal actions in areas of its primary responsibility (e.g., Indigenous health, immigration and naturalization, etc.) which will better enhance the reach and attractiveness of the recruitment/retention strategies provinces and territories are using to address health human resource challenges.

Provinces and Territories continue to share best practices to enhance their health systems, which differ across Canada in legislation, stakeholder dynamics, economic structure, and the existing care delivery infrastructure.  There are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions for health care in Canada.  Examples of innovation (in health human resource education and retention, support of Indigenous health priorities, interventions in mental health and primary care, the use of health data, etc.) assist Ministers to continue to provide the best quality services to their residents.

Ministers noted that flexibility and respect of Provinces’ and Territories’ jurisdiction over health care must be a key component of the bilateral agreements being negotiated for the increased federal funding, arising from the February 7, 2023, First Ministers Meeting.  Ministers reiterated their view that while aspects of some priorities may lend themselves to multilateral solutions, every action by provincial and territorial governments must be grounded in the health system commitments made to their own residents.  

Ministers remain committed to the principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility in the delivery of health care.  Ongoing innovations in service delivery (e.g., the adoption of appropriate virtual care since COVID-19) fully align with these principles and illustrate how Provinces and Territories continue to fulfill their responsibility to design and manage health care delivery according to the needs and mandate of their population.  Ministers agree that the federal government has a responsibility to help sustainably fund our health systems in all their diversity.

Ministers look forward to continuing these discussions with their federal colleagues tomorrow, identifying the actions within each jurisdictions’ own scope which can best contribute to the shared objective of strengthening health systems for Canadians.

“Throughout this transformative time in health care it is imperative that we are working together with the federal government as well as our provincial and territorial counterparts,” said Hon. Mark McLane. “I look forward to many meaningful presentations and solution-based discussions over the coming days.”

* Manitoba remains in a caretaker period and is not a party to this communiqué.

Media contact: 
Samantha Hughes
Health and Wellness

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