SASKATOON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by the Council of Atlantic Premiers, who met this morning prior to the annual meeting of the Council of the Federation in Saskatoon to discuss shared priorities:

Premiers Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia, Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador, Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick, and Dennis King of Prince Edward Island, focused on issues related to health care funding and energy transmission.

The premiers noted that Canada’s population is aging and this, coupled with determinants of health such as high incidence of chronic disease, has had a particularly acute impact in the Atlantic region.

The premiers called on the federal government to increase health care funding to address the impact of the region’s aging population on Atlantic Canada’s health care systems. The current federal health transfer does not take aging and other health dynamics into consideration.

The premiers also talked about a potential national pharmacare system and are asking to be consulted around the design of the program so it takes regional needs into account.

The premiers discussed progress with the federal government on developing a Clean Power Roadmap for Atlantic Canada. The roadmap will inform how governments invest in electricity infrastructure as the region moves toward a clean energy future.

Atlantic Canada has tremendous energy resources and the premiers agreed on the need to ensure better connections that will capitalize on those resources and create jobs and benefit the economy for all four provinces.

The two-day Council of the Federation meeting will touch on various topics, including economic growth and competitiveness, immigration, trade and strategic infrastructure. The premiers will also discuss health care sustainability and mental health, including the importance of a strong federal partner in future health funding.

The Atlantic Provinces are important partners in the Canadian federation, and the Atlantic premiers look forward to constructive discussions with their colleagues from across the country.