Mr. Speaker, health care is extremely important to Canadians and our health care system is something in which Canadians take pride. This government is committed to the Canada Health Act and the principles of universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness and public administration it embodies. These principles represent a common vision for Canada's publicly funded health care system that ensures every Canadian has access to the hospital and medical services that he or she needs.
While health care is a shared responsibility in the country, the government recognizes provincial jurisdiction and the primary responsibility provinces and territories have for the administration and delivery of health care services. Provinces and territories are directly responsible for setting priorities, administering health care budgets and managing resources.
Since coming to office, this government has worked collaboratively with the provinces and territories to advance the objectives of the 2004 health accord. We have introduced new measures to reduce wait times, improve access to physicians and nurses and accelerate the implementation of electronic health records.
This government has also introduced further measures to support physicians and nurses in rural and remote communities, home and community care, cancer, mental health and the prevention of childhood obesity. We have done so in order to address the changing health needs of Canadians and to contribute to the real improvements in the health care system.
Parliament has a key role to play in taking stock of what has been accomplished through the health accord. Federal legislation mandated two parliamentary reviews of the accord, one in 2008 and the second in 2011.
In 2008 the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health carried out a parliamentary review focused on the federal commitments in the 2004 accord. The member is able to read that if she would look that up.
Last March, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology initiated the second review to examine the report on the progress in implementing the accord. If the member remembers in the last Parliament, the opposition actually had the majority, and in the House of Commons committee it was decided not to study this. The minister was mandated for the study and that is why it went to the Senate.
As that review was interrupted by the election, the committee resumed its work this fall. Like all members, I look forward to receiving the committee's report when the review has been completed.
In the meantime, the Government of Canada's funding for health care is at an all time high. For example, this reflects the importance that Canadians place on the effective, efficient and responsive health care system. This also demonstrates the government's commitment to the health and well-being of Canadians.
As set out in the June 2011 budget, federal cash transfers to the provinces and territories through the Canada health transfer will amount to $27 billion in 2011-2012. These investments provide growing and predictable financial support to enable provinces and territories to deliver high quality health care to Canadians.
Federal funding for health care through the Canada health transfer is legislated to grow 6% annually until 2013-14 and we are committed to extending this arrangement to 2015-16. There are still two more years before the end of the current health accord, which gives us time to give proper consideration to the changing health care needs of Canadians and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our health care system.
Strengthening Canada's capacity to protect and improve the health of Canadians is of the utmost importance to our government. We look forward to continuing this work with the provinces and territories on ways to help Canadians live healthier lives.