On Thursday November 25th, I introduced Bill 201 which is designed to achieve more accountability in health care. Following the introduction of Bill 210, I spoke in a Member's Statement of the impact of the bill were it to be passed into law.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I move, seconded by the MLA for Tyndall Park, that Bill 201, The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act; la–Loi modifiant la Loi sur les offices régionaux de la santé, be now read a first time and passed.
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, this bill will provide for improved accountability in health care. It will provide that the health authorities–that includes the regional health authorities, Shared Health and CancerCare Manitoba–that their reports would come to the Legislative Assembly and that they would be then discussed in committee, just as we do with Crown corporations currently.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, Manitoba Liberals have long believed in improved accountability in health care. Two decades ago, I introduced legislation to make accountability a general principle in health care, just as universality and public administration are general principles. My bill, though introduced a number of times, never passed because the government of the day would not support it.
A few minutes ago, I introduced Bill 201, The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act. It takes another approach to bring accountability to health care. This bill provides that each of the provincial health authorities–the regional health authorities, Shared Health and CancerCare Manitoba–must table their annual reports in the Manitoba Legislature, and then these reports would be discussed at committee meetings, just as we do with Crown corporations.
The budgets of each of these health authorities are large, totalling more than $3.8 billion this fiscal year. Yet, when we do Estimates currently, the Minister of Health appears but the health authorities do not, and the result is the health authorities operate with insufficient accountability to Manitoba MLAs in our Legislature. It's time this changed. Indeed, it is past time this changed.
By bringing the health authorities before a legislative committee, as we do with Crown corporations, we can get significantly greater accountability. We will get much more information about the changes that have been made in health care in the last several years and about decisions made during the pandemic. This accountability will help government, it will help the opposition and, even more importantly, it will help improve health care delivery for all Manitobans.
I hope all parties will support this bill to have improved accountability in health care.
Merci. Miigwech. Thank you.