Victoria, July 12, 2022 – The premiers’ meeting in Victoria, B.C. this week illustrated once again the critical need for federal, provincial and territorial collaboration to fix Canada’s collapsing health care system.
Five million Canadians do not have primary care providers. Emergency departments across Canada are routinely closing because of staff shortages. Physicians and other health care workers are burning out. Yes, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the health system, but the reality is that cracks were visible in the system long before COVID-19.
There has been much discussion about needing increased federal funding to support provincial and territorial health systems, and we agree that this is certainly part of solving the health system crisis. We appreciate the fact that the premiers have recognized the need for better labour mobility among health care workers, and we are eager to see action here. Much more needs to be done to address pervasive issues that have continued to push the health system to the brink of collapse.
The health care workers who have dedicated their professional lives to caring for Canadians are burning out at a rapid pace. We need to see leadership from federal, provincial and territorial governments — signs of political will, collaboration and tangible solutions to give us some hope for a brighter future for the health system we all need and deserve. We encourage the federal government to swiftly meet with the provinces and territories to resolve funding issues and develop real solutions to address systemic challenges that require immediate action.
The CMA remains ready to work with elected officials across the country to find short-, medium- and long-term solutions to this crisis. We can’t afford to wait any longer.
Katharine Smart, MD, FRCPC
President, Canadian Medical Association