Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault 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.

The collaboration, outlined at a summit in Mississauga, will also include sharing 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 are now calling 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 in a media statement. “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 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, said a media statement.

The two parties also agreed to collaborate on combating 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.

Premiers Ford and Legault have agreed to convene annual meetings to jointly work on shared priorities and areas of mutual agreement.

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 percent of interprovincial exports.

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