Today’s commitment by the federal government to significantly increase health transfers to provincial and territorial governments is an important step to stabilize and transform our health care systems. The emphasis being placed on primary care, health workers’ support and the modernization of health care is welcomed.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been actively engaging federal and provincial/territorial policy makers on the urgent need for action, including additional and long-term funding combined with a plan to transform the way in which health care is delivered. We need commitments from federal and provincial/territorial governments to come to a common understanding and to agree on decisive actions. Time is not on our side. Each day that goes by without a firm commitment and agreement is a day in which Canadian patients continue waiting without the care they need and where health care workers struggle in an underfunded system.
It is critical that in future conversations and bilateral agreement negotiations, all governments commit to transforming our health systems through shared priorities. The CMA continues to advance key solutions, including enabling the mobility of medical professionals; scaling up collaborative team-based care; creating positive work environments for health workers; and creating a national health data and human resources strategy to address retention, recruitment, deployment and training of health workers. Together, these solutions can be transformative.
We urge Canada’s first ministers to continue to work toward productive collaboration to ensure Canadians can receive the health care that they expect and deserve. It is essential that we come together to prevent the deterioration of the health care system. The CMA is ready and willing to support the meaningful change needed to move forward.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine
President, Canadian Medical Association