For more than two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives, our economy, and our health care system. It has been the greatest public health challenge in more than a century, but historic federal investments in health care—and the dedicated work of health care workers across the country—helped Canada weather the darkest days of the pandemic. Canada has become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 85% of Canadians receiving at least two doses.
As the federal government continues to work with provinces and territories on investing in health care, Budget 2022 takes immediate steps to reduce backlogs in surgeries and procedures, to make it easier for Canadians to access the mental health care they need, and to continue bolstering our health care system.
Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has invested more than $69 billion, with more funding to be rolled out in future years, to lead a coordinated federal, provincial, and territorial response to fight COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of Canadians. Some of this funding includes:
- Over $17.6 billion to support vaccine procurement, deployment, and administration
- Over $10 billion for testing, contact tracing, data management, and to support provinces and territories in securing rapid tests for Canadians
- Over $12.8 billion for the procurement of personal protective equipment and medical equipment for our health and essential service sectors
- Introducing $2 billion through a top-up to the Canada Health Transfer to address surgical backlogs.
- $140 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada for the Wellness Together Canada portal so it can continue to provide Canadians with tools and services to support their mental health and well-being.
- $100 million over three years, starting in 2022-23 to Health Canada for the Substance Use and Addictions Program to support harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.
- $3.7 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for Black-led engagement, design, and implementation of a Mental Health Fund for Black federal public servants.
- $25 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, for Women and Gender Equality Canada to establish a national pilot project for a Menstrual Equity Fund that will help make menstrual products available to Canadians in need.
- Allowing medical expenses related to a surrogate mother or a sperm, ova, or embryo donor that are incurred in Canada for 2022 and subsequent taxation years to be claimed. This would include costs that have been reimbursed to a surrogate for in vitro fertilization expenses.
- Allowing fees paid to fertility clinics and donor banks in Canada in order to obtain donor sperm and ova to be eligible under the Medical Expense Tax Credit for 2022 and subsequent taxation years.
Budget 2022 proposes to provide funding of $5.3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $1.7 billion ongoing to Health Canada to provide dental care for Canadians. This will start with under 12-year-olds in 2022 and then expand to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025. The program would be restricted to families with an income of less than $90,000 annually, with no co-pays for those under $70,000 annually in income.