One day after the federal election was officially declared, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) kicked off its own campaign to make health care a ballot box issue.
CMA President Dr. Sandy Buchman started his day by meeting with candidates in his own riding of Toronto—St Paul’s, making the case that a commitment to health should be a central part of their election platform.
Polling released in May 2019 by Ipsos – commissioned by the CMA – revealed six out of 10 Canadians surveyed pledged to vote for the party with the best heath care plan.
“It’s time for party leaders to recommit to the federal government’s crucial role in health care, and act on what Canadians say is their top priority. Failing to address these concerns about the health system will prove costly for parties on election day.” – Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president
This past year, the CMA conducted in-depth focus groups and extensive opinion research with physicians and Canadians about their views on the health care system. This process prompted the CMA to call for the following commitments from federal parties:
- Increase access to care by focusing on solutions to strengthen primary care and support the next generation of physicians;
- Address the impact of an aging population with a demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer, which would support the creation of programs for seniors and caregivers;
- Invest in the infrastructure necessary to deliver care virtually, and establish a national physician license;
- Implement pharmacare and take immediate measures to prevent and resolve drug shortages;
- Demonstrate national leadership and provide funding for integrated mental health and addiction services for youth;
- Develop a comprehensive climate change plan to ensure our health care and public health systems can deal with the growing health impact
The CMA is also providing tools to help voters mobilize on health issues this election, launching the Advocacy Caucus to help physicians and medical learners connect directly with candidates by email, phone or face-to-face. Doctors from coast-to-coast-to-coast have signed up and will participate in a series of grassroots advocacy activities over the coming weeks.
Canadians can get involved through the CMA Health Advocates, a platform designed to bring voters together to advocate for improved care, and to engage with their local candidates. With thousands already onboard, the CMA Health Advocates will be tracking each party’s platform promises and creating opportunities for voters to show their support.
“Too many Canadians are falling through the cracks, and physicians and other health professionals are stretched to the breaking point trying to fill gaps,” explains Dr. Buchman. “Something needs to change. Today we’re calling on all Canadians to make their voice heard and help us deliver this message to candidates.”