Bolstered by a recent Ipsos poll showing 60% of Canadians surveyed will vote for the candidate with the best health care plan, Canadian Medical Association (CMA) President Dr. Gigi Osler was at the recent Council of the Federation meetings in Saskatoon. Her goal? To urge provincial and territorial premiers to join the call to put health back on the agenda this federal election.
“With today’s technology, why is virtual care not readily available to most Canadians? Why are so many people without a family physician? These are some of the questions we’re asking federal candidates, and this election is the perfect opportunity for federal leaders to make commitments.” – Dr. Gigi Osler, CMA president
The Council of the Federation is made up of 13 provincial and territorial premiers, and meets regularly to advance joint priorities, including federal health transfers.
In advance of the council’s meeting, Dr. Osler highlighted the CMA’s recommendations for health commitments by federal political parties in the upcoming election, including:
- a demographic-based top up to the Canada Health Transfer, to provide extra funding to provinces and territories based on population aging
- a seniors care benefit, to help cover additional, out-of-pocket expenses for seniors and their caregivers
- a new $1.2 billion primary health care transition fund, to improve access to primary care
- support for pan-Canadian medical licensure, to expand virtual care
Dr. Osler also met with several of the premiers from Atlantic Canada, a region where access to health care is a key issue for voters. When polled by Ipsos on what they would ask of the federal government, 53% of respondents from Atlantic Canada said they would press for better access to care. Overall, 35% of Canadians surveyed listed “better access” as their top ask, followed by “better funding” (19%).
Heading into the federal election, the CMA’s engagement with provincial and territorial premiers is amplifying the message to federal political leaders that health is a key issue for Canadian voters, and their physicians.