On April 19, 2021, the Canadian Federal Government released its 2021 budget entitled A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience. The Budget is the first to be released since the COVID-19 pandemic began and attempts to address three key challenges – conquering COVID, combatting the COVID recession, and providing more opportunity for those hardest hit by COVID.
The Budget supports a response to immediate challenges within the health sector, including vaccines, the backlog of health procedures resulting from the COVID-19 response, standards for long term care, and the need for widespread mental health services and supports. The Budget also makes investments to address systemic issues including racism and supports for Indigenous peoples. Highlights of investments to promote the health of Canadians, fight systemic racism, and empower Indigenous communities include:
- legislation tabled in the House of Commons to provide a one-time payment of up to $1 billion to the provinces and territories, on an equal per capita basis to be used for a variety of vaccine-related costs.
Backlog of Health Procedures
- $4 billion through a one-time top-up to the Canada Health Transfer for provinces and territories to address backlog and delays in health procedures.
Aging and Long-Term Care
- $1 billion to establish the Safe Long-term Care Fund announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.
- $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made.
- $90 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada to launch the Age Well at Home initiative. The Age Well at Home initiative will assist community-based organizations in providing practical supports that helps low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors age in place, such as matching seniors with volunteers who can help with meal preparations, home maintenance, daily errands, yard work, and transportation.
- $45 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to help develop national mental health service standards, in collaboration with provinces and territories, health organizations, and key stakeholders.
- $100 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including health care workers, front-line workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, and racialized and Black Canadians.
- $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to support a trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stream of mental health programming for populations at high risk of experiencing COVID-19 trauma and those exposed to various trauma brought about by COVID-19.
- $62 million, in 2021-22, to Health Canada for the Wellness Together Canada portal so that it can continue to provide Canadians with tools and services to support mental health and well-being.
- $116 million over two years, starting in 2021-22 for the Substance Use and Addictions Program to support a range of innovative approaches to harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.
- $140 million over five years starting in 2021-22, and $6 million ongoing, to Veterans Affairs Canada for a program that would cover the mental health care costs of veterans with PTSD, depressive, or anxiety disorders while their disability benefit application is being processed.
Medical Assistance in Dying
- $13.2 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, with $2.6 million per year ongoing, to Health Canada to ensure that Canada’s medical assistance in dying framework is implemented consistently and with all appropriate safeguards.
Other Health Service Supports
- $45 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to fund community-based organizations that help make sexual and reproductive health care information and services more accessible for vulnerable populations.
- $15.4 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to work with partners to support the creation of a national autism strategy.
- $29.8 million over six years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to advance the government’s palliative care strategy.
- $20 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support a new National Institute for Women’s Health Research.
- $30 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to fund pediatric cancer research.
- $25 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada for additional investments for research on diabetes (including in juvenile diabetes), surveillance, and prevention, and to work towards the development of a national framework for diabetes.
- $12 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to fund academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups.
Combatting Systemic Racism and Aiding Vulnerable Communities
- $11 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to expand the impact of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
- $2 million in 2021-22 to Public Safety Canada to enhance its Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program.
- $200 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to establish a new Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund.
- $100 million in 2021-22 to the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative at Employment and Social Development Canada.
- $100 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada to triple funding for the Enabling Accessibility Fund and support small and mid-sized projects with not-for-profit organizations, women’s shelters, child care centres, small municipalities, Indigenous organizations, territorial governments, small businesses, and businesses of all sizes.
- $15 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Women and Gender Equality Canada for a new LGBTQ2 Projects Fund dedicated to supporting community-informed initiatives to overcome key issues facing LGBTQ2 communities.
Support to Indigenous Communities
- $1.2 billion in 2021-22 to continue supporting the COVID-19 response in Indigenous communities.
- $1.4 billion over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $40.6 million ongoing, to maintain essential health care services for First Nations and Inuit, continue work to transform First Nations health systems, and respond to the health impacts of climate change.
- $597.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation.
- $1 billion over five years, starting in 2021-22, with $118.7 million ongoing to increase funding under the First Nations Child and Family Services Program.
- $1.2 billion over five years, and $181.8 million ongoing to invest in the future of First Nations children.
- $126.7 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, to take action to foster health systems free from racism and discrimination where Indigenous peoples are respected and safe.
Statistics and Data Infrastructure
- $41.3 million over six years, and $7.7 million ongoing, starting in 2021-22, for Statistics Canada to improve data infrastructure and data collection on supportive care, primary care, and pharmaceuticals.
- $7.6 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, for Statistics Canada to develop and implement a national survey on sexual and reproductive health that captures data on race, household income, and sexual orientation–information often not captured in existing surveys.
- $73.5 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to continue work towards the development and implementation of a First Nations Data Governance Strategy.
The full 2021 budget can be accessed here. Miller Thomson’s Health Industry Group will continue to monitor developments related to these new investments impacting the health sector. We remain on call to answer your questions and support your legal needs.