The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) welcomes Canada’s health ministers’ commitment to take real action to transform our health system for the benefit of both patients and providers. Our call for action was heard, and their collaborative tone paves the way for long-lasting changes.
Health ministers made commitments in several key areas, including retaining the existing workforce while expediting credentialling for internationally trained health professionals and exploring how we can expand education and training across the country. They also committed to improving mobility of the health workforce, which the CMA has long recommended as a key step to improve health care access.
Federal Health Minister Mark Holland noted that “data saves lives,” and we could not agree more. It is critical that we modernize health data systems, ensuring interoperability and patient access. Prioritizing the development and tracking of health metrics that are transparent and accessible to Canadians is a key step forward in health care accountability.
Earlier this week, British Columbia became the first province to announce an action plan to improve its health system and unlock additional federal investments. This is a promising step, and we are encouraged that other provinces and territories are expected to announce their own action plans in the near future. While Quebec doesn’t intend to sign a bilateral agreement with the current conditions attached, we welcome their commitment to sharing best practices.
Canadians need to know that their health system will be there when they need it. Health ministers this week made a collective commitment to a shared set of priorities. Now, the hard work begins. The CMA looks forward to continuing to collaborate with governments on the important steps that lay ahead.
Dr. Kathleen Ross