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Minister of Health Mark Holland rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 29.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan and Ottawa announced Monday a deal to infuse $560 million into the province’s health system, which they say will help shorten wait times and create better access.

“The federal funding commitment will build on provincial investments and help accelerate and expand initiatives already under way to meet the health needs of a growing province, build stronger health teams and modernize the health system,” Everett Hindley, Saskatchewan’s health minister, said in a news release.

Almost $391 million is through a bilateral agreement to support Saskatchewan’s three-year action plan to improve health care by creating better access to services, including acute and urgent care, and to reduce backlogs.

It is also to expand access to culturally appropriate mental-health and substance-use support.

More than $169 million under a separate agreement is to go to Saskatchewan’s five-year plan to enhance home, community and long-term care for seniors. It is also to increase the number of health professionals to help patients and support palliative care.

Hindley said the funds will help the province continue working toward a more efficient health-care system.

“What this does is it helps support a number of initiatives, some that are already under way,” Hindley said during an announcement of the deal in Regina.

Last year, Ottawa announced $196 billion in funding over 10 years to improve access to health care. About $45 billion was new money.

That funding includes increases to the federal health transfer and $25 billion for tailored one-on-one agreements targeting specific needs in different jurisdictions.

Provinces and territories were asked to improve data sharing and measure progress in exchange for the injection of funds.

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland said Canadians deserve to get the health care they need, no matter their age or where they live.

“Tailored to Saskatchewan’s unique needs, this funding focuses on what matters most: better health care for the people of Saskatchewan,” Holland said in a release.

Most provinces have already signed on to the accord. Saskatchewan’s deal follows Manitoba, which signed on last month, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Northwest Territories.

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