Today’s demands on Canada’s physicians and the health care system are unprecedented. An aging population with complex medical and social needs, an opioid crisis and the rising costs of essential medications — these are just a few of the pressing issues facing physicians in their work caring for Canadians.
The CMA advocates for government policies and programs that will improve health and quality of life. We meet regularly with government officials, develop concrete and practical recommendations and actively find solutions for Canada’s pressing health issues.
And we're being heard…
Federal budget addresses many CMA priorities
- $20 million was allocated over five years and $4 million a year ongoing for community-based programs to help those with dementia and their caregivers.
- An additional $75 million was budgeted for a seniors pilot project in New Brunswick, which has a higher proportion of seniors than other provinces.
- $230 million was earmarked for the opioid crisis, including improved access to evidence-based treatment facilities.
- In addition to funds for research, $62.5 million was allocated for public education on the risks associated with cannabis use.
PM acts on the CMA’s call for a seniors minister
Our efforts in support of seniors care are seeing results through the appointment of Filomena Tassi in July as the federal Minister of Seniors. The CMA met with Minister Tassi shortly after her appointment and called for a comprehensive national strategy for seniors. We also put forward 15 recommendations to a Parliamentary committee on Advancing Inclusion and Quality of Life for Seniors.
Advancing the pharmacare agenda
We're seeing growing interest in pharmacare and recently updated our pharmacare policy following input from our e-Panel members.
For years, the CMA has recommended that Canadians have access to medically necessary prescriptions, regardless of their ability to pay. In April, after two years of study, the Standing Committee on Health reached a similar conclusion in its report Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for all Canadians. The federal government also created the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, set to deliver its report next year.
Taking a stand on cannabis
The CMA has been clear in our briefs to government officials, Parliamentary committees and task forces that the legalization of cannabis must be anchored in a public health approach.
The CMA recommended to Health Canada that governments and health professionals determine the design and messages on cannabis packaging so people won’t be enticed to use the drug. The government supported this position in its regulations, stating that cannabis packaging must be plain and carry mandatory health warnings.
For public and professional audiences, the CMA contributed to the development of health information about cannabis, information about the risks of using it and guidelines for risk reduction. We also launched an awareness campaign to help young people understand the risks. The video associated with the campaign has been viewed more than 500,000 times.
Building medical leaders
The CMA mentors and engages tomorrow’s leaders through its Ambassador Program. By sponsoring ambassador attendance at conferences and other forums, the CMA introduces medical students, residents and early-career physicians to policy and the way it's formed. We're giving close to 300 participants opportunities to meet other physicians and medical students, learn about medical issues that affect or will affect the way they practise and explore career paths open to them.
To make sure our members have the skills needed to advocate effectively, the CMA has redesigned its advocacy coaching program. In 2018, our trainers visited a record-number of Canadian medical schools.