Thank you for the opportunity to share the Liberal Party of Canada’s platform and positions on the areas of priority outlined in your letter. We are proud of the track record of the Liberal government in working to improve our public, universal health care system and are committed to continuing to invest to ensure Canadians receive the care they need.
From day one of the pandemic, we made significant investments to ensure Canadians could get the health care they need. Eight out of every ten dollars spent during the pandemic came from the federal government. We have made significant investments to support the provinces and territories in delivering health care, including through the $19 billion Safe Restart Agreement, as well as two top-ups to the Canada Health Transfer, including $4 billion earlier this summer. We also provided $3 billion to the provinces and territories in emergency wage boosts for essential workers.
We know that while we have been battling COVID-19, too many Canadians have had their treatments and health needs delayed. To help Canadians who have had their surgeries, procedures and diagnostics put on hold during the pandemic, we transferred $4 billion to the provinces and territories to eliminate the COVID-19 related backlog. A re-elected Liberal government will provide a further $6 billion in 2021-22 to ensure that health care waitlists can be tackled and eliminated. We will negotiate agreements with every province and territory to ensure that Canadians who are waiting for care, including cancer patients, get the treatment they need as quickly as possible, and that the primary care system is positioned for the future and able to deliver the care outcomes that Canadians need. This support will help the thousands of Canadians and their families dealing with critical illnesses including cancer.
We are the only party with a detailed plan to finish the fight against COVID-19, by requiring anyone who travels on a plane, train or cruise ship to be fully vaccinated; providing funding to any province or territory who establishes a proof of vaccination system; and investing in research into the long-term impacts of COVID-19. And we’ll make it illegal to intimidate doctors and nurses, or prevent people from getting the care they need, from treatment in hospital to abortion services. And we will undertake a full review of the needs of the Public Health Agency of Canada to make sure the lessons of COVID-19 result in meaningful change, so that we are prepared for future pandemics and have a health care system that can continue to respond to future crises.
We know that one of the most important ways to help Canadians get the care they need is to ensure that they don’t have to choose between their health and putting food on the table. That is why when the pandemic hit, we introduced three new temporary Recovery Benefits, to help Canadians who are unable to work because of COVID-19: the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. We also temporarily waived the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits, to make sure benefits were delivered quickly.
The Liberal government also introduced legislation extending EI Sickness Benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, providing 169,000 Canadians every year with the additional time and flexibility they need to recover from their illness and return to work. This will permanently extend the EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, coming into effect in summer 2022. This support will ensure Canadians can prioritize their health when they need to. And for family members who work so hard to support their loved ones through illness, we will expand the Canada Caregiver Credit into a refundable, tax-free benefit. This will help 200,000 more Canadians qualify, and increase support for 448,000 people, and allow caregivers to receive up to $1,250 per year.
We have heard the concerns from the health community regarding breast screening practices. A re-elected Liberal government will review the structure of the Task Force to ensure that it incorporates the best advice and scientific evidence into its recommendations and guidelines.
On behalf of our Leader, Justin Trudeau, and the entire Liberal team, thank you for writing to identify the major concerns of your membership.
We appreciate your interest in the Liberal Party of Canada’s policies as they relate to the issues which affect you.
Liberal Party of Canada
You may also read the responses we’ve received from individual Liberal candidates: