Government & Policy
Federal budget funds health R&D, technology
April 13, 2022
OTTAWA – The federal government’s 2022 budget is offering a $2 billion top-up to the healthcare system, money that’s intended to help clear up the backlog of surgeries and diagnostic tests that have accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget also provided funding for healthcare research and development initiatives, as well as programs that rely on the use of technologies.
Budget 2022 proposes to provide $20 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support additional research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 infections on Canadians, as well as the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health and health care systems.
An estimated one in four Canadian seniors over the age of 85 are diagnosed with dementia. The effects on both those living with dementia and those who care for them can be devastating.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $20 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to ramp up efforts to learn more about dementia and brain health, to improve treatment and outcomes for persons living with dementia, and to evaluate and address mental health consequences for caregivers and different models of care.
The Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, established in 2015 by Baycrest Health Sciences, helps to accelerate innovative solutions in brain health and aging, including to address dementia. The Centre is a unique collaboration of healthcare, science, industry, not-for-profit and government partners whose aim is to help improve quality of life for the world’s aging population, allowing older adults of all backgrounds and abilities to age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $30 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to the Public Health Agency of Canada, for the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to help accelerate innovations in brain health and aging.
The federal government launched the Wellness Together Canada portal in April 2020 in response to the unprecedented rise in levels of stress, anxiety, and depression associated with the pandemic. Since then, more than two million people across Canada have accessed free information and support through the portal. Children and young people make up almost 50 per cent of users, and 42 per cent of texting users have identified themselves as LGBTQ2.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $140 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada for the Wellness Together Canada portal so it can continue to provide Canadians with tools and services to support their mental health and well-being.
The Wellness Together Canada portal complements PocketWell, a free app launched in January 2022 that helps Canadians access free and confidential sessions with social workers, psychologists and other professionals, as well as other mental health and substance use prevention services from their phone.
An increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic has devastated communities across Canada. Tragically, many jurisdictions reported a record number of opioid-related deaths in 2021.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100 million over three years, starting in 2022-23 to Health Canada for the Substance Use and Addictions Program to support harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.
This builds on the $116 million provided in Budget 2021 and $66 million in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for the Substance Use and Addictions Program. The government continues to work closely with partners to provide a compassionate and evidence-based response to the crisis. Since 2017, the government has dedicated over $700 million to address the opioid overdose crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to be able to effectively anticipate and respond to public health risks that threaten the health and safety of Canadians. While the Public Health Agency of Canada has responded well throughout the pandemic, it is crucial to take immediate steps to improve our surveillance capabilities so we are better able to detect and respond to public health events and emergencies in the future.
- To ensure Canada is better prepared to detect and act on public health threats, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $436.2 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, with $15.5 million in remaining amortization, to the Public Health Agency of Canada, to strengthen key surveillance and risk assessment capacities within the Agency. This will include supporting the real-time tracking of the evolution of viruses, monitoring the longer-term health impacts of COVID-19, and expanding risk assessment capacity and research networks for new strains of flu, emerging respiratory infections, and vaccine safety and effectiveness.
The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, managed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, contains critical supplies that provinces and territories can request in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, a natural disaster, or any other major public health event. For the last two years, the stockpile has played an important role in Canada’s response to COVID-19.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $50 million in 2022-23 to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support the operations of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. Funding will be used to maintain and diversify key medical supply holdings, including personal protective equipment, to ensure that Canada can continue to quickly respond to public health events and other emergencies.