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Feds address some northern Ont. healthcare concerns with new deal

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The prime minister was in northern Ontario on Friday to talk about healthcare in the region.

Last month, Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford signed a $3.1 billion healthcare deal – a three-year agreement meant to improve access to primary healthcare and reduce wait times.

PM Justin Trudeau (centre) speaks at Health Sciences North hospital in Sudbury, MPs Viviane Lapoite (second from left) and Marc Serre (second from right) also made remarks. March 1/24 (Angela Gemmill/CTV Northern Ontario)“Even within provinces we know there are different needs within different regions,” said Trudeau to the media while speaking at Health Sciences North (HSN.)

The PM highlighted details specific to northern Ontario from the recent deal with the province.

Federal officials said the funding is all part of a $200 billion investment for all of Canada, over the next 10 years.

“We also have to be honest that our healthcare systems haven’t been meeting the mark of what Canadians expect, over the past years,” said Trudeau.

The PM announced an additional 30 undergraduate and 41 post-graduate spots to be created at northern Ontario’s only medical school, NOSM University to help address the region’s doctor shortage.

Trudeau said the federal government is also moving forward with better training on anti-indigenous racism.

HSN president and CEO David McNeil said the facility works to create culturally safe space for all patients.

“Ensuring that we’re providing care for all people in a way where they feel culturally safe regardless of their background or culture is a key priority of Health Sciences North,” he said.

Other highlights include increasing cancer screening through mobile units and more primary health teams across under-serviced areas in the north.

Ontario was the fifth province to sign a new healthcare deal – joining Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Trudeau said that respect for the Canada Health Act is built into the new agreements.

“We expect public healthcare to be reinforced and strengthened, as unfortunately we see Conservative politicians, including at the federal level muse about two-tier health care,” he said.

“We know that in Canada health care needs to be available for everyone, high quality for everyone and accessible in a timely manner.”

As part of the deals, the provinces agreed to specific terms including reducing backlogs, increasing mental health and substance use support and modernizing health-care systems.

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