News release

Province, Federal Government Partner to Improve Healthcare

Health and Wellness
Office of Addictions and Mental Health
health workforce
Photo showing an ultrasound technician with a patient

An ultrasound technician with a patient. (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

Nova Scotians will get the care they need, faster, with new funding from the federal government.

The three-year, $355-million agreement will help increase access to primary, mental health and addictions care, support healthcare workers and allow the system to add more cutting-edge technology that offers better, faster care.

“We’re well on our way in implementing Action for Health, our road map for transforming healthcare in Nova Scotia, and changes across the system are making meaningful impacts on the front lines and beyond,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “We’re actively building the healthcare system all Nova Scotians need and deserve, and we are pleased the federal government shares our vision and will provide some additional funding to support us in our work.”

The agreement focuses on four shared health priorities that will help improve healthcare for Nova Scotians, including:

  • expanding access to family health services, including in rural and remote areas
  • supporting healthcare workers and reducing backlogs
  • improving access to publicly funded mental health and addictions services
  • modernizing health systems with data and digital tools.

Action for Health, launched in April 2022, is the Province’s strategic plan to improve healthcare. Nova Scotians have access to regularly updated data that measures progress on improving the province’s healthcare system for patients and providers.

Some key initiatives include:

  • the Patient Access to Care Act, which makes it quicker and easier for healthcare providers to come to Nova Scotia from other parts of Canada; licensing is now much faster for doctors, nurses and pharmacists who have trained elsewhere
  • adding and expanding primary care clinics, collaborative care teams, mobile clinics and pharmacy clinics
  • expanding VirtualCareNS to give all Nova Scotians access to primary care online
  • supporting more healthcare education with investments in new nursing programs and more seats; a new medical school in Cape Breton; expanded paramedic training; and more residency spaces
  • opening the province’s first mental health acute day hospital and new recovery support centres for people seeking help with substance abuse or gambling
  • building new, modern long-term care facilities across the province, providing thousands of new and replacement single rooms to help meet the care needs of Nova Scotia’s aging population
  • amending the Health Services and Insurance Act to establish insured service programs to deliver mental health and addictions care as part of a publicly funded healthcare system.


“Universal public healthcare is a priority and a point of pride for Canadians. Canadians are counting on us to work together to address the ongoing challenges we are experiencing within our healthcare systems. This agreement and action plan, which reflects Nova Scotia’s priorities, is one more step in the right direction and will help to expand access to care across the province. Together with all provinces and territories, we will improve Canada’s healthcare system for everyone.”
— Mark Holland, federal Minister of Health

“Two years ago, we made a commitment to Nova Scotians: to make mental health and addictions care available to everyone as part of our publicly funded healthcare system – a Canadian first. With this funding from the federal government, we’ll be able to continue the momentum we’ve built during that time to connect even more people to the mental health and addictions care they need, faster.”
— Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health

Quick Facts:

  • this funding is part of a 10-year, $198.6-billion investment by the federal government to improve healthcare services for Canadians; it includes $46.2 billion in new funding
  • under a separate funding agreement, work is underway to support Canadians to age with dignity and closer to home, with access to home or long-term care

Additional Resources:

Action for Health:

Mandate letter for the Minister of Health and Wellness:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way.