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CANADA VOTES 2021: How will parties improve the country’s health care system?

Issues range from abortion access to long-term care facilities
Hospital transfer workers are seen outside the Lynn Valley Centre care home in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The pandemic has brought Canada’s healthcare system to the forefront for many voters. Whether it be long-term care facilities or vaccine research, here’s what the parties have in mind for healthcare in this country.

Conservative Party of Canada

The Tories say they will boost the annual growth rate of health transfers to the province to at least six per cent, adding $60 billion in funding over the next 10 years. The party says it will also bump up vaccine research and production as part of its Canada Emergency Preparedness plan.

Conservatives also say they’ll establish a National Isotope Strategy to establish a framework for cooperation between government and other stakeholders. Among other uses, Isotopes are used to sterile medical devices and treat some cancers.

The Tories say they will reinstate the 10-day waiting period for people requesting medical assistance in dying, as well as require two independent witnesses. The party says they will also protect the “conscience rights” of healthcare workers.

The party says they will work with provinces to create a set of best practices for long-term care facilities and devote $3 billion in infrastructure funding to long-term care homes over the next three years.

Green Party of Canada

The Greens say they will bring in universal Pharmacare and create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protection periods to lower costs. The party says they will also work to include universal dental care under the Medicare umbrella.

On the long-term care front, the Greens say they will create enforceable national standards for long-term care facilities and bring them under the Canada Health Act, making them publicly funded. The party says they will improve training and pay for workers and end for-profit facilities.

Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberals say they will give provinces $3.2 billion to hire 7,500 new family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners and invest $6 billion to reduce surgery wait times. The party says they will establish regulations requiring sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, be made available in all parts of the country.

To entice new health care workers, the Liberals say they will offer those starting out a one-time income tax reduction of up to $15,000 over their first three years.

The party says they will develop a Safe Long-Term Care Act to improve care for residents, as well as invest $9 billion over five years to support safer conditions for seniors and better wages and working conditions for staff.

The Liberals are pledging to bring in 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers and work with provinces to develop a national action plan that respects provincial jurisdiction and the needs of small businesses.

READ MORE: Advance polling for federal election open for four days, starting Sept. 10

New Democratic Party of Canada

The NDP says they will bring in free Pharmacare to start in 2022, with an annual investment of $10 billion. The party will also develop a national strategy to provide coverage for rare diseases and include eye care, mental health care and infertility treatments under Medicare.

The New Democrats say they will end for-profit long-term care facilities and create national care standards.

The party would move towards behaviour-based screening for blood donations instead of enforcing a ban for men who have sex with men and ensure equal access to gender confirming surgery across Canada.

The NDP will also work with provinces to make medical and surgical abortions accessible everywhere

People’s Party of Canada

The People’s Party says they will replace Canada Health Transfer cash payments with a permanent transfer of tax points of equivalent value to the provinces and territories, giving up the GST and passing that money on.

The party says they will remove the federal government from all health care decisions and make the provinces fully responsible for its funding and management.

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