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Maybe the recession was good for healthcare, after all

There's been no shortage of criticism of the way the federal government has handled the economic stimulus and deficit-spending strategies, but here's an example of really a healthful stimulus: Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq just announced $135 million in new funding for construction and renovation of healthcare infrastructure in First Nations communities.

"This critical investment means new and refurbished health centres and nurses' residences for many of the remote and isolated First Nations communities served by Health Canada, and will provide immediate economic benefit by creating employment opportunities in those areas," she said in a release.

Health Canada's funding to its First Nations and Inuit Health branch was $2.2 billion at last count (accounting for nearly 52% of Health Canada's budget), which means that an extra $135 million for infrastructure is not an inconsequential amount. To give you a sense of how it compares to the department's other programs, $135 million is around half of a typical year's expenses on Health Products and Food for the entire country.

Photo: Government of Canada

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  1. sharon2 September, 2009 10:45 AM

    Hi Sam,

    I think your research assistant on this one needs a holiday.

    RE: interpreting the allocations and the spending

    When you read Table 1..... in concert with Strategic Outcome #4...... in this departmental performance report for 2007-2008..... it is very apparent that an allocation for funds needed is " infrastructure" of approximately $120 M is needed just to bring up the shortfall ( as the minister pointed out) the extra $15M on infrastrucutre will presumably address the other area of shortfall ....which is "access" ( actually need $20M ( she's $5M under her 2008 needs and facing 2010)

    Considering the overall comparisons made in Table 1 in "total operational budgets" you also see there is a 1.2 billion reduction in monies "used" by First nations and Inuit in 2008 compared to 2007 ( yes "reduction!)
    If it was me and my overall " operational costs" reflected good performance "related to strategic priorities" and the five year allocation of funds I would be leveraging on the strength of the 1.2 billion below estimate.
    Come on , Leona , add another 15% to your request :)

    However it is kudos to the "bean counters" for having the shortfall directly match the downturn in the Canadian economy

    RE: selecting comparable areas of spending

    [I'd like to see some reporting on whether that was from reallocation of funds to/from partnering departments ......and rationale.
    I see they were cut from the Tobacco control program by 10 million.

    To select "Health Products and Food" as a category of comparison to " Infrastructure" is like comparing the cost of raising or lowering the "hem" on your designer dress... not the costs related to the dress itself.


    Of greater interest to me is the selection of "strategic outcomes" . In Strategic Plans it is known that outcomes can vary greatly even when the same inputs are used.
    If ever there was a time for "inputs" and their method of delivery ( not just Transfer Funds) is now.

    Maybe we should confer with Max Kaiser on the the development of a " services" exchange....... and start trading " service offsets" between governmental partners [ hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;) ]

    Of course we would have to design a "model" of service "delivery" as a template.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm;)

    Good selection of " things to inspire our thinking", Sam. However, may they "usually" perform as a " button in the mouth"...not as a " thorn in the paw".

  2. EMR2 September, 2009 5:35 PM

    Recession bringing good health...sounds nice.At least it is bringing something.

  3. Hexpress11 September, 2009 8:17 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. sharon30 October, 2009 12:15 AM

    Q- what (a)precedes ...... and (b)follows....... a recession?

    What is different this time in these two categories?

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