Ottawa, ONTARIO – March 19, 2019 – Today’s federal budget touches on a broad range of issues that are important to Canadians. While these measures are welcome, more needs to be done to address the overall state of health and health care in Canada, says the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). As we approach the federal election later this year, the CMA will be looking for greater commitments from all political parties to address the growing disparities, most notably in seniors care; address the impact of climate change on health; and expand access to virtual care.
The CMA welcomes the government’s commitment to improving access to high-speed internet for all Canadians. This is a step in the right direction to enabling the implementation of virtual care and potentially improving access to care for rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
While the CMA recognizes the importance of improved financial security to Canada’s seniors, it remains concerned about the inadequacies in our health care system to deliver care for an aging population. Investments in a national dementia strategy represent a positive step, but government must also address the gaps in seniors care and the financial burden on caregivers and receivers, which the Conference Board of Canada estimates at nearly $10B.
In supporting access to medication, the new centralized drug agency will have a welcome role in reducing drug prices and establishing a formulary for Canadians. Along with a significant investment in medication for rare diseases, the key pillars are in place for a national approach to pharmacare.
Recognizing the challenges in addressing mental health, dementia, organ donation, suicide prevention and opioids, investments in Budget 2019 fall short of ambitious commitments.
The CMA supports the government’s continued efforts to improve Canada’s contributions to meeting global climate change targets and looks forward to continued progress. Absent from the budget, however, are specific commitments to address the health effects of climate change on Canadians.