JAN 16 2001

Mr. Mario deSantis
P. O. Box 2222
Nipawin, Saskatchewan
S0E 1E0

Dear Mr. deSantis:

Thank you for you rcorrespondence regarding Canda's health care system. I apologize for the lengthy delay in responding to you.

I appreciate your having taken the time to forward to me the article you wrote, entitled "Saskatchewan Health Care: Mississippi Burning of the Year 1964".

I too am concerned that Canada's system of medicare will not be able to provide Canadians with timely access to quality care in the years to come unless it is renewed substantially through innovation and collaboration. As I have stated before, the status quo is not an option.

It is for this reason that, in September 2000, the First Ministers met and reached an agreement to accelerate the renewal of Canada's health care system. I am pleased to inform you that, as a result, the Government of Canada announce that it will increase CHST cash transfers to the provinces and territories by an additional $18.9 billion over the next five years, in support of health. For the fiscal year 2005-2006 alone, the sum total of CHST cash transfers will reach $21 billion, or an increase of about 35 per cent above the current level.



As you note in your article, we also need to change the way health care services are delivered. While additional funding will be part of the answer, improving access to high-quality health care requires more than money - it also requires strategic changes to the way health care services are delivered, and a collective approach to make the right changes. The First Ministers have made a commitment to continue needed reforms that will strengthen our public health care system. for this reason, the Government of Canada will also provide $2.3 billion to the provinces and territories to upgrade aging medical equipment, to improve around-the-clock acces to more integrated health care services and to seize the tremendous potential of information technologies.

The First Ministers also agreed to work together to develop a new accountability framework. From September 2002 on, the federal, provincial and territorial governments will regularly report to the public on the delivery of health care services, health system perfromances and our progress toward agreed upon priories.

I believe that this agreement is significant for Canada's health care system because it will make a difference to the real people out there on waiting lists and in hospital beds, and it is an important investment in the future of our health care system.

As Minister of Health, I am committed to continue working with the provincial and territorial governments to ensure that we have a quality health care system that meets the needs of Canadians.

Once again, thank you for writing, and please accept my best wishes.

Yours very truly,

Allan Rock