- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario-Québec Summit Strengthens Ties between the Two Provinces
MISSISSAUGA — Today, Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault concluded a successful Ontario-Québec Summit, where their governments agreed to collaborate on accelerating economic recovery and job creation, working towards increasing health care funding sustainability and preparedness, and advancing other areas of mutual benefit for the people of Ontario and Québec.
Over the past few months, both provinces have surmounted extraordinary challenges due to COVID-19, from building unprecedented testing capacity to encouraging thousands of Ontario and Québec businesses to retool to make personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies. At the summit, Ontario and Québec agreed to continue their collaboration to share lessons learned from the pandemic and prepare their health care systems for a potential second wave of COVID-19.
With the COVID-19 crisis amplifying existing pressures on the provinces' respective health care systems, Ontario and Québec now call on the federal government to remedy longstanding underinvestment in provincial health care by committing to a long-term funding partnership with the provinces and territories for health care through a significant increase of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT).
"This summit offered a historic opportunity to strengthen our regional partnership with Québec and ensure we can deliver a strong and resilient recovery for the people and businesses of our two provinces," said Premier Ford. "I'm looking forward to working with Premier Legault to bring all of our provincial partners together to fight for the priorities that matter most to all Canadians, including ensuring the federal government is a full partner when it comes to adequate and sustainable funding for health care particularly during these extraordinary times."
"Québec and Ontario have shown resilience and leadership over the past months. As we aim for an ambitious recovery, we must join our efforts to support economic development, our businesses and job creation," said Premier Legault. "Together, we have a stronger voice and will work to ensure our shared priorities are heard by the federal government, including addressing the underlying imbalance in our healthcare funding arrangement through the CHT."
The Premiers and Ministers of the two governments agreed to work together to grow and strengthen the economy as it gradually and safely reopens. The provinces also agreed to press the federal government for fair, flexible, sustainable funding for other key priorities that support economic recovery and resilience, including infrastructure, transit, other sector-specific supports and broadband in order to accelerate access to high-speed Internet access for rural, remote, and Northern communities.
The two parties also agreed to collaborate on combatting U.S. protectionism, removing trade barriers, and promoting Ontario-made and Québec-made products to help protect and create more jobs for Ontarians and Quebeckers.
The governments will further work together to develop shared principles on the safe and responsible reopening of the Canada-U.S. border and ensure Ottawa has a clear plan before any restrictions are relaxed.
To continue the extraordinary progress made over the past two days, Premiers Ford and Legault have agreed to convene annual meetings to jointly work on shared priorities and areas of mutual agreement.
The Premiers look forward to discussing these important priorities for the people of the two provinces and for all Canadians.
The inaugural Ontario-Québec Summit provided an unprecedented opportunity for the two provinces to strengthen economic ties and agree on key priorities for ongoing collaboration.
The delegation of Ontario Ministers who participated in the summit were: Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health; Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance; Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure; Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation; and Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board.
The delegation of Québec Ministers who participated in the summit were: Éric Girard, Minister of Finance; Christian Dubé, Minister of Health; Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation; and Sonia LeBel, Chair of the Conseil du Trésor and Minister Responsible for Infrastructure.
With a population of over 23 million, Ontario and Québec form the largest economic region of Canada. Together, the two provinces are responsible for $1.3 trillion, or more than half (58.3 per cent), of Canada’s total gross domestic product and 53.8 per cent of interprovincial exports.
If Ontario and Québec were a trading bloc, they would be the U.S.’ third largest trading partner.