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e-Panel Survey Summary

Issue Prioritization


Respondents were asked which CMA policy issues were most and least important for the CMA to address over the next two to three years. A total of 18 issues were presented, four at a time, and in nine different sets such that each issue appeared twice; respondents were asked to select the most and least important issue in each set. An average importance score for each issue was generated based on the amount of times it had been rated “most important” and “least important” by respondents.

Survey – January 2016

A survey on CMA policy issues was conducted with e-Panel members between Jan. 29 and Feb. 15. Out of 4,262 e-Panel members, 669 completed the survey, for a response rate of 16%.


The following 18 issues were presented to respondents; they are ranked in order from highest to lowest average importance score:

  1. Health system funding ― public and private funding for the delivery of health care services.
  2. National seniors strategy ― investing in and improving care for an aging population.
  3. End-of-life care in Canada ― the implementation of assisted dying, as a medical service, and the role of physicians.
  4. National Pharmacare program ― access to essential medications across the country.
  5. Federal role in health ― renewal of the federal-provincial-territorial Health Accord and federal funding of innovation in health care.
  6. Aboriginal populations ― addressing the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
  7. Physician resources and health human resources (HHR) ― underemployment of physicians and a national HHR plan.
  8. Federal tax issues ― changes to taxation laws that may impact physicians’ plans for their practices and retirement.
  9. Medical professionalism ― quality and accountability, professional collaboration, and patient-centred care.
  10. Prescription drug shortages ― shortages, delays in access, alternative therapies and clinical deterioration.
  11. Physician health ― physician health and well-being.
  12. Immunization ― vaccination rates, registries, public awareness and vaccine hesitancy.
  13. Health and the environment ― government policy to combat global warming, study its effects on human health and prepare for climate emergencies.
  14. Prescription opioid abuse ― overdoses, deaths and addictions.
  15. Medical education ― advancement of medical education.
  16. Refugee health ― health coverage and physician support for refugee care.
  17. Veterans & Canadian Forces health ― timely access to care for veterans, military personnel and their families.
  18. Marijuana for medical purposes ― the physician’s role in patient access to marijuana from licensed producers.

Overall, the four issues ranked as the most important were the following:

  1. Health system funding;
  2. National seniors strategy;
  3. End-of-life care in Canada; and
  4. National Pharmacare program.

The gap between the most important and least important issues was narrow, suggesting that all issues were assigned some importance. Students and those in Quebec differed slightly in their top 4 issues ranked the most important. Students replaced Health system funding with Aboriginal populations, while Quebec respondents replaced National Pharmacare with Physician resources and health human resources (HHR).

Next steps

The results of this survey will help the CMA to determine the key policy issues to focus on in the next two to three years. The issues identified in the survey include current areas of focus for the CMA, issues currently being monitored, and emerging issues that may become increasingly important over time. The CMA hopes to conduct similar surveys on a consistent basis moving forward, to ensure its strategy reflects shifting member priorities over time.