B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake says the province has negotiated a unilateral healthcare funding deal with the federal government.

B.C. and Ottawa reach $1.4-billion mental health and home care deal

The province is the sixth to sign a separate deal after failed attempts to secure a multilateral accord.

British Columbia became the latest province Friday to sign a separate healthcare funding deal with Ottawa.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philipott and B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake announced a 10-year, $1.4-billion agreement for better mental health and home care. Of that, $785.7 million will go to home care infrastructure and $654.7 million will go towards mental health initiatives. The mental health funding will reduce wait times, Phillipot added.

The province and the federal government will roll out detailed plans, performance indicators and annual reporting plans in the coming week.

B.C. Care Providers Association CEO Daniel Fontaine said he was happy with the deal.

Very pleased [with] the federal and provincial government signing a health accord today! Seniors across B.C. will benefit,” he said on Twitter.

#BC must prioritize own residents when negotiating #health funding with #Ottawa :@TerryLakeMLA. He’s been critic of separate deals before pic.twitter.com/jrOMt5rdrB

— Kat (@katslepian) February 17, 2017

B.C.’s pact comes despite Lake’s criticism of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island for signing separate deals instead of pursuing a combined provincial-federal deal.

“I’ve always believed that having a national approach is best… but we are responsible and accountable to the people of British Columbia,” said Lake, adding that the decision was negotiated by a provincial team, including Premier Christy Clark.

Recent reports from the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate and the B.C. Care Providers Association have reprimanded the province for its lack of home care funding for seniors.

Lake dismissed concerns that the new agreement was just electioneering.

“We do have a budget coming on Monday so some certainty was helpful for us,” he said.

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