Universal public health care a promise to all Canadians

I wish you and yours a wonderful spring season and look forward to reconnecting with you as the days start to get longer and warmer. As I resume my duties in Parliament, I remain committed to addressing your concerns and serving residents.

Delivering Better Health Care

Universal public health care is a promise to all Canadians and a fundamental part of life in Canada. Last month, we renewed this promise with a $3.1 billion investment in Ontario’s health care system over the next three years. This funding will be linked to the Government of Ontario making critical improvements to health care delivery:

  • Filling health care shortages by hiring 3,000 registered nurses, 600 nurse practitioners, and 600 family physicians.
  • Increasing student enrollment in health care education programs by 700 new spots.
  • Enabling more health professionals with international training and experience to practice in Canada by removing barriers in the foreign credential recognition program, simplifying licensing, and raising intake.
  • Ensuring at least 91% of residents can access a family health professional by expanding family health teams.
  • Building five new Youth Wellness Hubs to make it easier and faster for youth to get mental health and substance use services in rural and Indigenous communities.
  • Fixing gaps and inequities in Indigenous health care services in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

We know the health care system hasn’t been living up to expectations. These goals will address issues impacting thousands of health workers and patients in Ontario, with progress annually measured and reported. I want to assure you that the federal government is taking action and investing in the crucial health services Canadians depend on.

Cracking Down on Auto Theft

No family or business should be the victim of auto theft, a crime that has personally affected local residents and many in the Greater Toronto Area. That’s why we are committing $121 million to Ontario’s police services to help them target the street gangs responsible and the networks exporting stolen cars overseas.

The Canada Border Services Agency will also receive $28 million to help them better detect and search outbound rail and shipping containers, especially at the Port of Montreal, a hotspot for cars stolen from the GTA. The CBSA responds to 100% of police referrals to examine containers, and new investments in large-scale imaging equipment and manpower will bolster these efforts.

From the local police on the ground to the technology used by car makers to smuggling at the ports, tackling auto theft requires a united response. The federal government is currently exploring – and will promptly enact – tougher penalties for car thieves, and is collaborating  with automakers to install more robust anti−theft technology. I look forward to providing you with an update on this matter soon.

International Student Program

I recently spoke with students and leaders at Toronto’s colleges and universities about changes to the International Student Program. Many of us have friends, neighbours, and colleagues who came to Canada as students for quality education and to build a better life – this fundamentally will not change. The decision to issue 35% fewer study permits, resulting in 360,000 in 2024 compared to 579,000 in 2023, ensures international students have better access to housing, health care, and other services needed for an enriching Canadian education.

Beyond sustainability, these changes will also crack down on bad actors charging exorbitantly high tuition fees and schools that have dramatically raised intake without providing adequate student housing. The cost of this abuse has been borne by students, their families, and all Canadians.

It is now the responsibility of provinces and territories to allocate international student spaces among their respective universities and colleges. I strongly urge Ontario to exclude schools engaging in exploitive practices as we restore integrity to the International Student Program.