Canadian Medical Association

Ottawa (ON) – September 12, 2019 – With mounting evidence that the health care system is failing Canadians, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is putting federal political parties on notice: It’s time to put health back on the agenda. In its policy platform published today, the CMA is calling for decisive actions to address access to care across the country, seniors care and youth mental health — along with asking parties to commit to implementing pharmacare and making climate change a priority, recognizing its impact on the health of Canadians.  

“Canadians are seeing their cherished health care system falling apart, and they’re sending a strong message to federal candidates – health care is a ballot box issue for them. It’s time for party leaders to show real leadership, recommit to the federal government’s crucial role in health and health care, and act now on what Canadians are saying is their top priority,” says Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president. “Failing to address these concerns will prove costly for parties on election day.”

In a poll this spring conducted by Ipsos in collaboration with the CMA, three in five Canadians indicated they would vote for the party with the most comprehensive health care plan.

CMA key priorities for political parties

Changes are needed so that Canada’s health care system can meet the needs of all patients and providers. To help make that happen, the CMA is calling on federal parties to make the following commitments:

  • 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 impacts.

“Too many Canadians are falling through the cracks, and physicians and other health professionals are stretched to the breaking point trying to fill gaps,” adds 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.”

Physicians playing an active role in federal election

The CMA has launched its new Advocacy Caucus, an opportunity for physicians and medical learners to connect directly with candidates and advance the health issues that matter most to them and their patients. Physicians from coast-to-coast-to-coast have signed up and will participate in a series of grassroots advocacy activities over the coming weeks.

Canadians invited to take part in the movement

Canadians can get involved through the CMA Health Advocates, a platform designed to bring voters together to advocate for improved health care and to engage with their local candidates. With thousands already signed up, the CMA Health Advocates will be tracking each party’s platform promises and creating more opportunities for voters to show their support.