The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) anticipated a definitive plan of action as Canada’s premiers wrapped up their Council of Federation health summit today. Given the fragile state of our health system, Canadians are looking to the premiers to deliver solutions that will improve access to care and support the health workforce.
We commend premiers for their discussion on climate change and housing, two critical issues that also impact the health of Canadians every day. However, following the health ministers’ commitments last month – including prioritizing health worker retention, expediting credentialling for internationally trained health professionals and improving the mobility of the health workforce – we are concerned that the urgency of the matter is being lost as our systems and workforce struggle under the weight of inaction.
As Canadians demand better access to health care and providers continue to stretch themselves thin, the time for implementing solutions is now.
Premiers continue to raise jurisdictional issues between the federal and provincial/territorial governments. Canadians have lost patience with these arguments – they deserve stable, equitable access to good health care. Recent survey data clearly illustrate that Canadians are losing faith in their health system. Today was an opportunity to carry forward the health ministers’ commitments and confirm that tangible action is coming.
We urge provinces and territories to finalize their respective health care action plans and formalize bilateral agreements with the federal government so they may access the full slate of federal funding and begin improving access to care.
The CMA welcomes being part of conversations with all governments to collectively solve the health care crisis.
Dr. Kathleen Ross