Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the first priority of the Government of Canada is ensuring that our veterans at Ste. Anne’s Hospital continue to receive the exceptional care they have earned and deserve. The number of veterans eligible for admission to Ste. Anne’s Hospital is steadily declining and it is anticipated the number of vacant beds will increase.
In order to ensure high quality care to veterans, Ste. Anne’s Hospital needs to maintain a minimum number of patients. The transfer of Ste. Anne's Hospital to the province of Quebec would allow the hospital to be fully utilized, maintain its high quality of care, and be of benefit to a greater number of Canadians. Key considerations for the Government of Canada in any transfer are the continued priority access to quality care and services for veterans and the interests of employees.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the delivery of health care became a provincial responsibility, and with the inauguration of universal hospital insurance, the 1963 Glassco commission recommended to the Government of Canada that Veterans Affairs Canada’s ’s departmental health care facilities be transferred to the provinces. At that time Veterans Affairs Canada was offering care to veterans in 18 federally administered facilities, including Ste. Anne’s Hospital. In response to this recommendation, it has been a long-standing policy of the Government of Canada to transfer Veterans Affairs Canada facilities and 17 departmental facilities, with the exception of Ste. Anne’s Hospital, have been transferred to the provinces in which they were located. Ste. Anne’s Hospital is the last remaining federally owned veterans hospital.
Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to providing quality care for veterans at Ste. Anne's Hospital and this commitment will be protected in any eventual agreement to transfer Ste. Anne’s Hospital. All veterans who are eligible to receive care at Ste. Anne’s Hospital will continue to receive expert care in their time of need.
In response to (b), actual financial impacts would depend on many factors. These include the date and terms of any eventual transfer agreement reached with Quebec, and the number of veterans residing at Ste. Anne’s Hospital at the time.
In response to (c), the financial breakdown would depend on several factors including the date and the terms of any eventual transfer agreement reached with Quebec. Therefore, the financial details cannot be estimated at this time.