Wait Time Alliance: Canadians are waiting longer to see specialists under Conservative government

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister is ignoring the fact that her government actually cut the money to the wait times in this country. As we can see today from the new report from the Wait Time Alliance, Canadians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the current government’s inaction. In fact, 94% of Canadians are concerned about waiting too long to see specialists and, according to a poll a majority of Canadians believe things have gotten worse not better under the current government.

When will the government finally provide the leadership that Canadians are looking for, and work with provinces to reduce wait times?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have done exactly that and of course we have given all the tools necessary to the provinces and territories in terms of funding, and up to $40 billion annually, year in and year out, by the end of the decade, also providing funding above and beyond that to help them reach their priority areas of wait times. They are seeing some results in the areas where they have set priorities for wait-time guarantees. We are working with them on that.

However, this is a complex area. As I have mentioned, we have more physicians now working in Canada than ever before, so it is more than just availability of doctors. The provinces are working on better models of care, and we will support them to do more.