Federal transfers not keeping up with costs: premiers

Teresa Wright
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Canada’s premiers say federal transfers to the provinces must be re-examined in light of a new report from the Conference Board of Canada that projects the country’s aging population will increase provincial costs while federal surpluses soar.

The report, entitled A Difficult Road Ahead: Canada’s Economic and Fiscal Prospects, was commissioned last year by the premiers.

It says Canada’s aging population will result in weaker economic growth and less revenue for provincial governments to fund programs and services.

The rise in the number of seniors is also expected to increase demand for health care, which will create additional costs. This will make it difficult for provinces to balance their books in the long term, the report states.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board of Canada projects the federal government will improve its financial outlook, with an estimated $109 billion surplus by the year 2034-35.

The country’s premiers, who are meeting in Charlottetown this week, believe this report lends credence to their long-voiced concerns over the need for greater health and fiscal transfers to the provinces.

“Last year in Prince Edward Island, our health care budget grew by approximately $30-million. How much did the federal government contribute out of that $30-million? They contributed approximately $8-million,” Ghiz told reporters Thursday afternoon.

“Even though they may be still contributing to increases, it’s not keeping up to the pace on how much our health budgets are going.”

Ghiz said the premiers will come out later today with a more concrete request to the federal government on where the provinces need more help to deliver social programs.

He said the costs associated with the country’s aging population as well as concerns over a shortage of infrastructure dollars from the feds are the issues of highest concern to the premiers as they continue their deliberations as part of the annual Council of the Federation meetings taking place this week in Charlottetown.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Conference Board of Canada

Geographic location: Canada, A Difficult Road, Charlottetown Prince Edward Island Charlottetown.twright

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Recent comments

  • don
    August 28, 2014 - 22:54

    the money would be better spent from ottawa on the people then donating it to the rich card carrying liberals on PEI. and i'm sure the rest of the leaders do the same to help there backers. well i hope and pray when your turn comes the people in charge does the same to you. as your big money pockets will be empty. mark my words leaders your day will come also. but also remember this the seniors your are screwing now built the country for the people NOT A SELECT FEW.but do you care? NO you do not you only care about you and ghiz is the perfect example of that with helping right off millions of tax payers money to fellow liberals.

  • stupid voter
    August 28, 2014 - 17:25

    i VOTED FOR GHIZ---but not again--THESE businesses and unions etc are charging customers and members EXTRA--- EXTRA--EXTRA so they can wine and dine the politicians -- Just another ILLEGITIMATE cost of doing business ---

  • intobed
    August 28, 2014 - 17:17

    The premiers walked up Great George Street, following the same path that the founding fathers of Canada came when they decided to create Canada. Given the way the premiers are running things (along with Harper) they should have been walking the opposite direction.

  • Aongasha
    August 28, 2014 - 15:53

    Wah Wah Wah, blaming the feds for their own mismangement as usual, and the press dumb enough to give them the photo ops- no wonder the last few PMs wouldn't even meet with them

  • senior
    August 28, 2014 - 15:21

    if you think harper will do any thing about health cuts for get it .

    • Cromwell
      August 28, 2014 - 18:37

      I hate to remind you and your fellow socialists, but health care is entirely the responsibility of the Provincial government. In the case of PEI, this means mismanagement by the Ghiz government. If he cared more about spending available resources on health issues and less on pandering to 'language equality' for less than 5% of the Island's population, then the bulk of Islanders would be more satisfied. However, as a socialist, it's easier to blame Harper!