Madam Speaker, this government has been very clear in our support for the principles of the Canada Health Act and the values that they reflect. These values of accessibility, equity, and solidarity form the foundation for both our publicly insured health care system and for the nation as a whole. They are the values that reflect the belief that, regardless of how much money they make or where they live, health care should be available for all Canadians when they need it.
Our commitment to the publicly insured health care system is reflected in our actions. This means restoring leadership at the federal level by revitalizing and setting solidly in place strong collaborative working relationships with our provincial and territorial counterparts to realize the aims of the Canada Health Act.
The Canada Health Act continues to be the cornerstone of the Canadian health care system. The aim of the act is to ensure that all eligible residents of Canada have reasonable access to medically necessary insured services without direct charges. The act is very clear: any charges to patients for publicly insured services are considered extra billing or user charges and are prohibited under the act. Our government wants to see all such charges eliminated.
Canadians depend on and expect all governments to work together to ensure that citizens across this country can readily access and rely on a health care system that ultimately supports them in leading fulfilling and productive lives. When Canadians are in good physical and mental health, they are able to work better, be more productive, and contribute more fully to our economy while living healthier, happier lives.
Our health care system is one that Canadians across the country continue to take pride in and to cherish. Statistics Canada confirms this point in its 2015 report on Canadian identity, which states that close to 80% of Canadians have pride in our health care system.
Respecting the value that Canadians place on our health care system, this government's commitment to Canadians is having a federal government that is fully engaged with provinces and territories on matters related to the Canada Health Act. Our approach to the administration of the act emphasizes transparency, consultation, and dialogue with provincial and territorial health care ministries to resolve potential issues.
As I mentioned earlier, extra billing and user charges are prohibited under the act, as these fees create barriers to accessing health care. Part of the reason Canadians take pride in our health care system is that they know the system will provide them with the care they need regardless of their ability or willingness to pay.
This government is committed to ensuring that Canadians across this country continue to have access to the health care they need, when they need it. That is why the Minister of Health wrote to the Quebec health minister in September, underscoring her commitment to publicly funded health care without charges to patients for insured services.
Proactively holding such discussions with provinces and territories on compliance issues provides real opportunity to resolve potential problems before they become more fully developed. It should also be noted that independent action on the part of provinces and territories can also lead to good outcomes. This government was pleased that the Quebec minister of health recently announced concrete action toward removing barriers to access, by eliminating fees charged to patients for insured services at the point of delivery.
It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of enforcement is not to levy penalties but to ensure compliance with the principles of the Canada Health Act, so that Canadians can have access to the health care they need when they need it. The Minister of Health did not levy penalties in her letter to the Quebec government.