Canadian Medical Association

While the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) agrees with Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos that a broad review of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response is important, the organization urges the government to put immediate focus and attention on stabilizing and rebuilding the country’s health care system. 

“Our health systems are unable to care for Canadians today,” says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the CMA. “Learning from the past is incredibly important, but that must come after we deal with the collective crises facing our 13 provincial and territorial health systems. Delaying immediate action to mitigate today’s crises means they continue to accelerate and worsen. We must remember that the burden of crises is shouldered by patients and providers in the health system; delaying action is unacceptable.” 

A CMA-commissioned report released this week highlighted common ground where provincial/territorial and federal governments can work together to address the fundamental issues affecting the system overall. In response to the issues identified in this report, the CMA strongly recommends: 

  • increase the Canada Health Transfer to better support provincial/territorial health systems,
  • establish a pan-Canadian licensure model to enable physician mobility,
  • scale up collaborative primary care to foster greater collaboration among health workers and improve access to care for patients,
  • create a national health human resources strategy to plan for recruitment and retention of health workers.

"The solutions to our health care crisis do not live in the silos that we’ve created across 13 provincial/territorial jurisdictions,” says Dr. Lafontaine. “It is time to start working together to break down those barriers, act on solutions and optimize our health system. We are at an important crossroad and we need the political will to do the work.” 

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