�� HEAL News Releases Blog — Health Action

National survey reveals 94% of Canadians support mental health parity | Un sondage national révèle que 94% des Canadiens et Canadiennes appuient la parité de la santé mentale

HEAL is advocating for all Canadians to have coverage for the mental health services which they need.

(OTTAWA – June 6, 2019) Today, the Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) released the findings of a national Abacus public opinion research poll (version française), demonstrating a high degree of support for mental health parity across demographics.

Of the 1,500 Canadian adults surveyed, 56% strongly agreed that mental health care should be covered by provincial or territorial health plans, while 38% said they somewhat agreed. Only 2% of respondents strongly disagreed.

Mental health parity is the notion that mental health services, in the form of services delivered by social workers, psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, and other mental health professionals, should be covered by provincial and territorial health insurance plans to the same degree as a visit to a family physician or community medical clinic.

“There is no question that awareness of mental health has increased greatly in the last decade, and that related stigma has decreased,” said HEAL Co-Chair Ondina Love. “And while that is a very positive step, it’s time for governments to ensure that all Canadians can have access to the mental health services that they need – to the same extent which a visit to the family doctor is covered by their provincial or territorial health plans.”

The results reveal only small differences in support between age groups, with 56% of Millennials saying they strongly agreed with the statement, as compared to 54% for Gen X, 58% for Boomers, and 48% for those of the Silent Generation (born before 1945).

Although both sexes were generally supportive of mental health parity, it was observed that 48% of men strongly supported the notion of mental health parity as compared to 63% of women polled.

Support was also strong across regions in Canada, peaking at 64% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan respondents saying they strongly supported the statement, and lowest amongst Québec respondents with 53% attesting to that same level of support.

“If you look at the data across regions, sexes, age, and party affiliation, the percentage of those who strongly disagreed with mental health parity was extremely low – between 0 and 4% for any given segment,” said HEAL Co-Chair François Couillard.

“We believe these results provide a strong rationale for all federal parties to pledge support for such a move within their 2019 election platform, whereby the federal government would work closely with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that all Canadians have access to the mental health services which they need,” said Couillard. “We look forward to working across party lines to make these policy changes a reality, and therefore increase Canadians’ overall wellbeing.”

Through the tabling of its consensus statement last fall, The Canadian Way 2.0: Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, HEAL has focused its most recent advocacy on measures related to seniors’ care and mental health services – areas which its 40 national member organizations have deemed federal priorities for 2019.

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HEAL, Organizations for Health Action is a coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive. Our members are professional associations of regulated health care providers and organizations of health charities that provide a range of health care services across Canada. HEAL now represents more than 650,000 providers (and consumers) of health care, in over 20 different health care professions. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Madison Simmons 613-233-8906 / madison@impactcanada.com

Federal Budget 2019: healthcare sector applauds focus on seniors | Budget fédéral 2019 : le secteur de la santé salue l'accent placé sur les aînés

Recent national survey commissioned by HEAL shows widespread support for measures aimed at dealing with Canada’s aging population.

(OTTAWA – March 22, 2019) Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) is reacting positively to the tabling of the 2019 Federal Budget, as much of its content is in line with HEAL’s policy asks, including new investments in seniors care, mental health and in measures to counter the opioid crisis.

While a focus on seniors is welcome, HEAL plans to continue pressing the federal government to invest in important seniors’ care measures that were not contained in Budget 2019, such as greater funding for home-based care across the country, and the introduction of a demographic top up for provinces which have a higher percentage of seniors.

Last fall, HEAL released the initial findings of a new Abacus Data survey related to healthcare. The poll, which surveyed 1,650 adults from across Canada, found that 7 out 10 Canadians felt that the federal government should make investing in and optimizing Canada’s health care system to respond to its aging population a top or very high priority.

Today, HEAL is releasing more data of that survey, as it relates to the Budget 2019.

When asked if they would support the expansion of community and home-based health and active aging programs across the country, 82 % said yes.

By region, support ranged from a high of 85% in British Columbia to 78% in the Atlantic provinces.

By age range, 95% of those in the 60 and over group answered they were in favour, and support from those in the 18 to 29 age group was also surprisingly high at 73%.

By party, support was strong across the board regardless of party affiliation. While 83% of respondents identifying as Liberals were supportive of the above statement, 84% of Conservative respondents and 82% of NDP respondents said the same.

“Regardless of how you look at it – by region, age, party affiliation – there is overwhelming public support for a variety of measures aimed at addressing Canada’s aging population challenges,” said Ondina Love, HEAL Co-Chair.

“We are encouraged to see that the federal government has listened to our members and considered our Canadian Way 2.0 consensus statement; and as a result, will be investing further in seniors’ care,” said Love.

“However, greater investments in home care initiatives and other key seniors care measures, are still very much needed according to our members.”

The number of Canadians aged 85 and over is expected to triple over the next 20 years from 700,000 to 2.1 million.

“Clearly, investing in seniors’ care is not – and should not – be a partisan issue. We, therefore, look forward to working with all of the federal parties to ensure that each of their electoral platforms includes robust support for a variety of investments in seniors’ care,” said François Couillard, HEAL Co-Chair.

In addition to seniors’ care, HEAL will also keep advocating for the adoption of the mental health parity principal, as detailed in its Canadian Way 2.0, to ensure that mental health care is integrated into primary health care and covered by provincial and territorial health insurance plans.

Healthcare highlights of Budget 2019

National Pharmacare

  • Budget 2019 announces the Government’s intention to move forward on three foundational elements of national pharmacare: the creation of a Canadian Drug Agency; the development of a national formulary; and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

Seniors Care

  • $50 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to support the implementation of Canada’s first National Dementia Strategy.

  • Additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million per year ongoing, for the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

  • $35 million in 2019–20 to ensure the Assisted Living Program continues to help meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in Indigenous communities.

  • An additional $8.5 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to work with First Nations and Inuit communities on developing a new and more holistic long-term care strategy.

Mental Health

  • $25 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing, to work with experienced and dedicated partners in the space to support a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service.

  • $50 million over 10 years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing, to support ITK’s Inuit-specific approach through the Strategy to address deaths by suicide in Inuit communities.

Opioid crisis

  • Additional funding of $30.5 million over five years to support efforts to expand access to a safe supply of prescription opioids, protecting people with problematic opioid use from the risks of overdose and death

The Canadian Way: HEAL’s health policy consensus statement

In 2016, HEAL published its first consensus statement, The Canadian Way – Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, following more than two years of research, review, and reflection.

HEAL’s The Canadian Way 2.0 statement moves the conversation forward, adding additional recommendations on the two areas of priority identified by our members in 2018: Seniors’ care (across the health care system continuum, including home care), and Mental health services.

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HEAL, Organizations for Health Action is a coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive.
Our members are professional associations of regulated health care providers and organizations of health charities that provide a range of health care services across Canada. HEAL now represents more than 650,000 providers (and consumers) of health care, in over 20 different health care professions.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Madison Simmons 613-233-8906 / madison@impactcanada.com

National poll reveals 7 out of 10 Canadians want the federal government to prioritize healthcare investments in seniors’ care. | English Only

Health sector coalition releases healthcare consensus statement and urges federal government to increase investments in seniors’ care and mental health.

(OTTAWA – November 1, 2018) Today, Organizations for Health Action (HEAL), released its health policy consensus statement, Canadian Way 2.0, as well as the initial findings of a new Abacus Data survey related to healthcare.

The poll, which surveyed 1,650 adults from across Canada, found that 7 out 10 Canadians feel that the federal government should make investing in and optimizing Canada’s health care system to respond to its aging population a top or very high priority.

More survey respondents felt this way than other issues the country is facing, including the rising cost of housing, public debt and deficits, climate change, rising global extremism, or economic and employment disruption.

The number of Canadians aged 85 and over is expected to triple over the next 20 years from 700,000 to 2.1 million.

“These survey results reinforce what our 40-member organizations are hearing on the front-lines of healthcare,” said HEAL Co-Chair Ondina Love.

“Canadians understand that there is an immediate need to increase investments to our healthcare system so that we can effectively deal with Canada’s aging population – and they want to see it addressed as a priority by the federal government. As we are less than a year away from a federal election, parties should take note that this is sure to be a top election issue,” said Love.

The Abacus survey also revealed:

  • 86% want the federal and provincial governments to work closely together to prepare the health care system for Canada’s aging population.

  • 82% said they support the development of a pan-Canadian caregiver strategy to better help those caring for loved ones who require medical attention. 


  • 81% said they support the federal government expanding community and home-based health and active aging programs across the country. 


According to Statistics Canada, more than 15% of the Canadian population was over the age of 65 at the time of the last census. By 2036, this age group is expected to make up more than 25% of the population.

“Since health care costs increase with age, the demands of this demographic shift on the Canadian health care system will compound,” said François Couillard, HEAL Co-Chair. “Canada therefore requires a more robust approach to home care and community health services for older adults and those living with a dementia.”

“HEAL looks forward to working with the federal government to advance this key social and economic issue,” said Couillard.

HEAL’s Abacus survey findings released today were the first phase of results. More survey findings will be released in the coming months by HEAL.

The Canadian Way: HEAL’s health policy consensus statement

In 2016, HEAL published its first consensus statement, The Canadian Way – Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, following more than two years of research, review, and reflection.

HEAL’s The Canadian Way 2.0 statement moves the conversation forward, adding additional recommendations on the two areas of priority identified by our members in 2018: Seniors’ care (across the health care system continuum, including home care), and Mental health services.

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HEAL, Organizations for Health Action, is a coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive.
Our members are professional associations of regulated health care providers and organizations of health charities that provide a range of health care services across Canada. HEAL now represents more than 650,000 providers (and consumers) of health care, in over 20 different health care professions.

MEDIA CONTACT:

David Gakwerere
613-233-8906
david@impactcanada.com

HEAL Applauds Health Committee Work on Pharmacare | English Only

Ideal combination of better coverage for less cost is possible

OTTAWA, April 19, 2018 – HEAL – Organizations for Health Action – applauds the House of Commons Health Committee on the release of its long-awaited report on the feasibility of a national pharmacare program. After two years and nearly 100 expert witnesses, the report lays the groundwork for filling a longstanding gap in the Canadian healthcare system.

“Our members applaud the committee for their tireless work on this important subject,” said Ondina Love, HEAL Co-Chair and CEO of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association. “HEAL supports a move towards a pan-Canadian pharmacare program working in concert with federal, provincial and territorial governments to improve access for the millions of Canadians currently going without the pharmaceuticals that they need. This is also an opportunity to bring down costs by bringing to bear the entire purchasing power of a country the size of Canada.”

“This is a great step forward and provides valuable guidance to the recently-established working group under Dr. Eric Hoskins,” added Francois Couillard, HEAL Co-Chair and CEO of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. “HEAL and all of our 40 members look forward to engaging with Dr. Hoskins’ advisory committee in the year to come as it develops its recommendations to the federal government on its approach to pharmacare. Prescription drug coverage has been a gap in our publicly-funded universal healthcare system for too long, and this is a great opportunity to start closing that gap.”

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HEAL is a coalition of national health organizations that represents a cross-section of health providers, health regions, institutions, and facilities. All of HEAL’s members are dedicated to protecting and strengthening Canada’s health system, and these organizations represent more than 650,000 health-care providers from across the country.

For more information, please contact:
Michael Hatch
613-233-8906 | mhatch@impactcanada.com

HEAL Applauds Budget’s Health Measures, focus on opioids and mental health should continue | English Only

Written by HEAL

Created: 12 March 2018

OTTAWA – March 5, 2018 – HEAL – Organizations for Health Action – and its members applaud Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau for his government’s latest budget, which sets an encouraging course for some areas of vital importance in national health policy. The document’s focus on mental health, combatting the opioids crisis and a new advisory panel on a possible pharmacare program are all encouraging, says the coalition’s members.

“This budget contained significant new funding for targeted mental health initiatives and for combatting the opioid crisis, both of which should continue to be top priorities in the federal health policy agenda,” said Ondina Love, HEAL Co-Chair and CEO of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association. “HEAL is in the process of formulating its advocacy priorities in these key areas and will be excited at the opportunity to work with Health Canada and the Minister as they implement the ambitious plans as laid out in this year’s budget on health matters.”

Last week’s federal budget contained relatively few “big ticket” items, as the Trudeau government holds some of its fiscal fire for the 2019 pre-election budget, which will presumably contain some higher-profile spending items to help make the case for their re-election in a year and a half. Despite this, one of the biggest winners was research: $1.7 billion over five years for the granting councils and research institutes and $1.3 billion over five years for laboratories, equipment and infrastructure. Also, high on the list of potential pre-election items coming out of this budget is the potential for a national pharmacare program, for which this budget has created a national advisory body.

“HEAL looks forward to engaging with the new advisory panel on pharmacare, and continuing to work with the government as it implements the rest of its ambitious health policy agenda,” said Francois Couillard, HEAL Co-Chair and CEO of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. “On pharmacare, we agree with the Minister that the first focus should be on the many Canadians who currently do not have access to the prescription drugs that they need, and that do not currently enjoy sufficient private coverage for vital drugs.”

Many Canadians currently have access to the drugs that they need and the systems that provide it should be preserved. However lower-income and many older Canadians are in dire need of medications to which they currently do not have access, and too many are forced to make the impossible personal budgetary choice between drugs and other life essentials such as food or shelter. Focusing on those who need it the most would be a wise allocation of scarce federal funds in what could be a multi-billion dollar program.

The budget also contained funding for a federal tobacco control strategy as well as targeted funds for public education initiatives associated with its plan to legalize cannabis. It also contained important new funding for health research in Canada. There was also a boost to funding for dementia-related programming, though more will be needed as the federal government moves forward with the development and implementation of a national dementia strategy for Canada.

“HEAL and its members support the government’s focus on mental health programming and on combatting the opioid crisis, and we look forward to working closely in the year to come on finding innovative solutions to these vitally important issues,” concluded Love.