As 2015 winds to a close, we can feel proud of our achievement this year in getting health care back on the federal agenda, with the help of our partners and the public.
When Prime Minister Trudeau laid out the priorities for his cabinet ministers in mandate letters released publicly last month, it was clear that health care was once again being given the attention it deserves. In fact, the health of Canadians was identified as a priority in the letters of six of his ministers.
Moving forward, we’ll be building on the momentum from the federal election and continuing to advocate for a health care system that better serves our seniors. This will involve working closely with the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott, in the development of a new multi-year Health Accord and long-term funding agreement. Given Canada’s aging population, if there was ever a time for a renewed Health Accord, it’s now.
A key part of Dr. Philpott’s mandate will be working with provincial and territorial governments to make home care more available, prescription drugs more affordable and mental health care more accessible. Physicians have long recognized the need for improvements in these areas; it’s good to see them codified now as official federal deliverables.
We also recognize the challenges that the government will face in developing policy following last February’s Supreme Court ruling on assisted dying. As the Minister of Justice leads this process in collaboration with the provinces and territories, the CMA will continue to lead the charge for action and ensure that the rights of both physicians and the patients we care for are represented.
Lastly, we were encouraged to see that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has been tasked with restoring the Interim Federal Health Program, a change that the CMA has long been calling for. This is an important development, particularly now that Canada has begun welcoming the first of the 25,000 refugees from Syria our nation will be helping resettle in the coming months.
These are just several of the key issues that the CMA will be keeping a close eye on in the year ahead. Together, I know that we’ll continue to build on our successes towards improving the health of Canadians. I look forward to your continued support in 2016.
Until then, my best wishes for a restful and happy holiday season,