Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, sits with Quebec Premier Francois Legault as they drink beer during a photo opportunity ahead of the Ontario-Quebec Summit, in Toronto, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)

Quebec and Ontario Premiers meet in summit to discuss health care and economy

Québec Premier François Legualt and Ontario Premier Doug Ford met in Mississauga, Ontario this week for the first ever Ontario-Québec summit to discuss economic recovery plans and ways to increase health care funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the end of the summit on Wednesday, both provincial governments agreed to collaborate and share the lessons learned from the pandemic and prepare their health care systems for a potential second wave of the virus. 

Ford and Legault also called on Canadian government to commit to a long-term funding partnership with the provinces and territories for health care by increasing health transfers, as the pandemic increases pressure on their province’s respective health care system.

The provinces of Québec and Ontario have had the highest amount of COVID-19 cases in Canada. 

“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,” Ford said. “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.”

According to a press release, both provinces agreed to work together to strengthen their economies as it gradually reopens, and they agreed to press the Canadian government for fair and sustainable funding in areas that support economic recovery such as infrastructure and transit. 

Together, Québec and Ontario form the largest economic region in Canada with a population of over 23 million, and are responsible for $1.3 trillion of Canada’s total gross domestic product. 

“Québec and Ontario have shown resilience and leadership over the past months,” Legault said in a press release. “As we aim for an ambitious recovery, we must join our efforts to support economic development, our businesses and job creation.”

Both governments will collaborate on combating United States protectionism, remove trade barriers and promote Québec and Ontario made products to create more jobs for people in Ontario and Quebec. 

Ford and Legault also agreed to convene in annual meetings going forward to work on shared priorities. 

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