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January 12, 1999
(Health and Community Services)

Good progress in social union negotiations

Joan Marie Aylward, Minister of Health and Community Services, attended today's meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for social union negotiations and reported there was good progress.

"It was clear from today's discussion that all ministers are more committed than ever to reaching an agreement that will result in governments cooperating better and, as a result, creating better social programs for Canadians," the minister said.

Ministers discussed the obvious linkage between a Social Union Agreement and the need for the federal government to re-invest funding into the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST), starting with the 1999 federal budget, expected in the next few weeks. "From Newfoundland and Labrador's perspective, I made it clear to my colleagues, particularly, the Honourable Anne McLellan, the federal Minister responsible for the social union talks, that funding is the central issue to ensuring good social programs. While the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador fully supports the need to develop a new partnership between governments to guide social policy, in the absence of stable, predictable and adequate funding, it will be impossible to provide the types of social programs that people of our province want and deserve".

Ministers will be meeting again in the near future to further advance the negotiations, hoping to lead to a final agreement in the next couple of months. Minister Aylward stated: "I will continue to advance Newfoundland and Labrador's position at the negotiating table in a manner that ensures our priorities are reflected in any final agreement".

Media contact: Glenn Bruce, (709) 729-1377.

1999 01 12 2:05 p.m.

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