Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, second left, speaks as Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane, back left, Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai, third left, and British Columbia Premier David Eby, right, listen during a news conference following a meeting of western premiers, in Whistler, B.C., on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Premiers meeting in Winnipeg to discuss use of new health dollars, affordability

Provincial and territorial premiers are kicking off a three-day meeting in Winnipeg today in which the chaos in Canada’s health care systems will be front and centre.

They’re gathering to discuss how to use $46 billion in new health funding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered in February, in exchange for provinces and territories committing to targeted reforms.

All but Quebec have accepted the funding offer, but none have submitted plans on the targets and timelines they’ll use to turn the new funding into fixes for Canada’s ailing but beloved public-health care programs.

Canadian Medical Association president-elect Dr. Kathleen Ross says health care must remain at the top of the premier’s agenda at the three-day meeting.

She says little has changed over the last few months when it comes to understaffed hospitals, shuttered emergency rooms and excessive backlogs.

The premiers will also tackle economic issues and affordability during their meetings, which take place as Trudeau visits eastern Europe to discuss defence issues.