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CFPC Update on Emergency Medicine Exam (September 13, 2021)

2021 Election

Voter on a Canada flag background. 3d illustration - stock photoThe next federal election will be held on September 20, 2021.

The CFPC is championing access to primary care: Access done right.

Access to high-quality, comprehensive, continuous primary care is foundational to an effective health care system. Family physicians play a crucial role providing such care.

Although access to primary care is an ongoing concern for many people living in Canada, adoption of virtual care—catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic—has presented opportunities as well as challenges for accessing high-quality primary care.

The CFPC calls on all parties to prioritize access to high-quality, community-based primary care in the lead-up to this election through our Calls to Action.

The CFPC will assess election commitments supporting access to primary care made by major national parties whenever these are published during the campaign.
 


How can we do access right?

Health care concept, Hand of medicine doctor holding wood block and stacking up icon healthcare medical and stethoscope on background.Family practices can improve access to care if they have the right tools and supports. For example, virtual care tools can help enhance access but should be used to support, rather than detract from, the continuity of care. Many family doctors are stretched thin, made worse by the demands of the pandemic. Any federal political party seeking to form government must demonstrate leadership in supporting improved access to care.
 

The CFPC advocates for three actions:

  • The Primary Health Care Transition Fund—called for in 2019 by the CFPC, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses Association, and the Canadian Association of Social Workers and now referred to as the Primary Care Access Fund—has yet to be launched. This proposed $2B investment would enable changes in practices across the country to enhance accessibility for patients in a Patient’s Medical Home model.
  • The pandemic has underscored the need for national standards in many areas of health care. Drafting and adopting national standards for virtual care can enhance access to primary care. National standards will help patients living anywhere in Canada access care that abides by the Canada Health Act and meets the standard for high-quality, safe, and competent care.
  • Support all jurisdictions to establish blended payment models as the dominant form of remuneration. The CFPC supports payment models that incentivize accessible, continuous, comprehensive care in a Patient’s Medical Home model.
  • Conservative Party of Canada

    Timely Access to Care Through the Patient’s Medical HomeConservative Party of Canada logo


    Action 1.1: Standardizing the PMH vision across Canada and supporting reforms through a primary health care transition fund
    The Conservative Party has committed to maintaining the 3 per cent annual growth of the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer. It has indicated that it would support provinces choosing to use federal transfer money to invest in innovative solutions for improving the health care system, such as through implementing the PMH. However, the party has not said that it would dedicate specific funds for primary health care transition, nor would it take on a leadership role in this area.
    Grade: red circle

    Action 1.2: Adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health care delivery
    The Conservative Party is open to considering innovative ways to improve health outcomes of the populations for which the federal government is responsible for health care delivery, including using the PMH vision. However, the party has not indicated a plan or funding commitment for adopting the PMH vision, resulting in a yellow grade in this area.
    Grade: yellow circle
     

    Integrating Mental Health Into Primary Care


    Action 2.1: Integrating accessible mental health services as part of primary care practices
    The Conservative Party has indicated that it would support provinces choosing to use federal transfer money to invest in innovative solutions for improving the health care system, such as through implementing a collaborative care model. However, the party is not taking a leadership role in allocating specific funds to support the co-location of mental health care workers in primary care settings.
    Grade: red circle

    Action 2.2: Supporting and adopting the principle of mental health parity through a mental health parity act
    The Conservative Party has expressed support for treating mental health as a critical priority and has committed to maintaining mental health funding transfers. However, the party maintains the position that health care is a local issue that differs from one region to another. As such it will leave the provinces to allocate health funds according to their needs. The Conservative Party has earned a red grade here for its lack of commitment to introducing a mental health parity act.
    Grade: red circle
     

    Universal National Pharmacare


    Action 3.1: Introducing a universal, single-payer, national pharmacare program
    The Conservative Party has dismissed the recommendations of the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. Preference has been given to alternative patchwork approaches such as filling gaps in coverage for people without access to provincial or employer-sponsored plans. This approach would not ensure consistent access across the country and would not achieve the same benefits as having the federal government act as a strong, central negotiating power to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
    Grade: red circle
  • Green Party of Canada

    Timely Access to Care Through the Patient’s Medical HomeGreen Party of Canada logo


    Action 1.1: Standardizing the PMH vision across Canada and supporting reforms through a primary health care transition fund
    The Green Party supports the concepts of timely access and comprehensive, patient-centred care embedded in the Patient’s Medical Home (PMH). It has stated it supports using federal funding to assist in systemic reform to help primary care teams transition to the PMH style of practice. However, no specific details or financial pledges have been put forward thus far outlining a concrete plan.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Action 1.2: Adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health care delivery
    The Green Party has expressed that the federal government should do more to ensure all populations have equal access to care and has the opportunity to demonstrate best practices in areas of federal health care delivery. While the Green Party supports adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health delivery, there is no defined framework in place for directing federal agencies to undertake necessary health care delivery reforms.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Integrating Mental Health Into Primary Care


    Action 2.1: Integrating accessible mental health services as part of primary care practices
    The Green Party has expressed support for the inclusion of mental health professionals in primary care practices. The party has said it plans to make funding available to assist with integrating mental health professionals into primary care interprofessional teams to provide adequate care to those in need. However, at this point no specific funding commitments to enable this change have been announced.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Action 2.2: Supporting and adopting the principle of mental health parity through a mental health parity act
    The Green Party has stated that access to mental health services is a crucial factor in addressing the social justice and equality challenges facing Canadians. It has stated its support for the adoption of a mental health parity act. The party has also said that it intends to direct Health Canada to better orient its mandate to address mental health and addiction issues. It also said that if it were to form the next government it would establish a cabinet post in charge of mental health and addiction.
    Grade: green circle

    Universal National Pharmacare


    Action 3.1: Introducing a universal, single-payer, national pharmacare program
    The Green Party was the first party to call for a universal pharmacare system in Canada. It remains committed to this goal and has stated that universal, national pharmacare is the best way to support Canadians’ medication needs while also reducing the cost of medications. The party supports the recommendations made by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health and supported by Parliamentary Budget Officer review to expand the Canada Health Act to include prescription drug coverage in this manner. The party also agrees with the recommendations of the final report by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare calling for the establishment of a $15 billion universal, single-payer public pharmacare system in Canada.
    Grade: green circle

  • Liberal Party of Canada

    Timely Access to Care Through the Patient’s Medical HomeLiberal Party of Canada logo


    Action 1.1: Standardizing the PMH vision across Canada and supporting reforms through a primary health care transition fund
    From 2000 to 2007 the Primary Health Care Transition Fund (PHCTF), initiated under the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien, contributed $800 million to support various initiatives such as collaborative team development, chronic disease management, information technology development (including telehealth and electronic medical records), and enhanced access hours up to 24/7. At this time the Liberal Party has not offered any support for a renewal of the PHCTF, however, recent announcements contained commitment to improve access to family physicians, specifically through interprofessional team approach.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Action 1.2: Adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health care delivery
    During the Liberals’ most recent term in office (2015–2019) some federal agencies such as the Canadian Armed Forces and the Correctional Service of Canada have enhanced the integrated delivery of health care services for populations in their care. However, no specific commitments to strengthening primary care delivery have been made as part of the current campaign.
    Grade: yellow circle
     

    Integrating Mental Health Into Primary Care


    Action 2.1: Integrating accessible mental health services as part of primary care practices
    In August 2017 the Liberal government signed a series of bilateral agreements with provinces and territories based on a Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities. Among those priorities is a clear commitment to improve access to mental health and addiction services. Budget 2017 confirmed an investment of $5 billion over 10 years in this area. More information is needed on how the Liberal Party supports the integration of mental health services as part of primary care, specifically on how improvements enabled by this investment will be measured. The Liberal Party platform suggests further work to set “clear national standards for access to mental health services” is a priority.
    Grade: green circle

    Action 2.2: Supporting and adopting the principle of mental health parity through a mental health parity act
    The Liberal Party supports the inclusion of mental health services within medicare and the Canada Health Act. The party also supports the establishment of a universal system of effective mental health programs and services as a component of Canada’s health care system. However, no specifics have been made available thus far about the adoption of a mental health parity act.
    Grade: yellow circle


    Universal National Pharmacare


    Action 3.1: Introducing a universal, single-payer, national pharmacare program
    The Liberal Party has formed and enabled the work of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The Liberal Party’s health platform has included specific steps that will build a foundation for the eventual establishment of a national, universal pharmacare system. Greater clarity on how these steps and the eventual system will be funded is useful.
    Grade: green circle
  • New Democratic Party

    Timely Access to Care Through the Patient’s Medical HomeNew Democratic Party logo


    Action 1.1: Standardizing the PMH vision across Canada and supporting reforms through a primary health care transition fund
    The NDP has expressed support for a PMH-style interprofessional approach to health care delivery. It has committed to working with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to determine how to reach this goal but has not yet set out any plans or funding commitments.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Action 1.2: Adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health care delivery
    The NDP has committed to adopting the PMH vision for federal health care delivery. The NDP commits to working with Health Canada to adopt the PMH principles in health care delivery for groups under federal jurisdiction including veterans, Canadian Forces personnel, inmates, and First Nations and Inuit communities.
    Grade: green circle


    Integrating Mental Health Into Primary Care


    Action 2.1: Integrating accessible mental health services as part of primary care practices
    The NDP has committed to reinvesting in the health care system and working with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to include mental health care as part of a head-to-toe approach to health. It has expressed a commitment to ensuring that Canadians can access the mental health services they need without worrying about out-of-pocket costs. At this time, the NDP has not put forward a timeline for implementation or a specific funding commitment for this work.
    Grade: yellow circle

    Action 2.2: Supporting and adopting the principle of mental health parity through a mental health parity act
    Although the NDP has committed to including mental health care as part of regular medicare coverage, it falls short of committing to implementing a mental health parity act that would protect the principle through legislation.
    Grade: yellow circle
     

    Universal National Pharmacare


    Action 3.1: Introducing a universal, single-payer, national pharmacare program
    The NDP has committed to implementing a universal, single-payer pharmacare system by late 2020 with an annual investment of $10 billion. This investment would support a comprehensive, evidence-based national formulary that would be administered by an independent public agency. Vocal support for universal, national, and public pharmacare has been a long-standing position of the NDP.
    Grade: green circle

What Can I Do Now? Take Action!

 

A unique angle of the Peace Tower, in Ottawa, Canada. Part of the Canadian Parliament buildings.Push federal political parties to commit to supporting family physicians and their interprofessional practices in improving accessibility for patients and making it easier to deliver timely, excellent care.

Send a pre-written message to all candidates currently contesting the election in your riding. If you know your current Member of Parliament (MP) or other candidates, contact them directly and share your experiences with the challenges your patients may face accessing care.

Find candidates in your riding using Elections Canada’s election website.


 

Party Platforms

Platform commitments detailing support for access to primary care will be assessed when available.
 
  • Conservative Party Platform 2021 Election – Summary

    Conservative Party of Canada logo The Conservative Party platform does not address virtual care and lacks vision on role of this paradigm shifting innovation in development of health care delivery.

    The Conservative Party platform pledges to restore the Canada Health Transfers (CHTs) annual rate of growth to six per cent (the original reduction to three per cent introduced by the Conservative Party was maintained by the Liberal Party of Canada since their election in 2015). This would be a positive development that should increase the global capacity of the system. Though the plan indicates an additional $60 billion would flow to the health care system over the next 10 years, analyses show that this money will be backloaded into the second half of the coming decade, with just $3.6 billion of that spending expected in the next five years.  

    The plan gives attention to the role of mental health (through encouraging provinces to invest in this area and subsidizing employers to provide mental health support programs) but lacks the specific direction of resources to other priority areas (e.g., access to primary care).

    The platform dedicates $1 billion over five years to enhance funding for Indigenous mental health and addictions treatment programs. It is a key step to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous people in Canada. Though the Conservative Party’s platform refers to the importance of guaranteeing clean drinking water to Indigenous communities, no targeted funding commitment is identified.

    The Conservative platform also pledges an additional investment of $325 million into residential treatment beds for patients suffering from addiction. Palliative care is supported through doubling the direct federal investments in palliative care.
     
  • Green Party Platform 2021 Election Summary

    Green Party of Canada logo The Green Party platform promises to support family doctors and interprofessional teams to reduce wait times and improve access to care. This is included under a pledge to restore the Canada Health Accord. Specific strategies on how this would be achieved are not provided.

    Virtual care is addressed through commitments to set and maintain national standards on safety and quality, support for equitable access through infrastructure investments, and support for policies that enhance continuity of care.

    The platform pledges to expand the Canada Health Act to include pharmacare, basic dental care, some mental health services, and long-term care (LTC).

    A national mental health strategy and a suicide prevention strategy are proposed. Commitments to invest in Indigenous-led services, youth mental health, and community supportive housing are described, though specific funding is not provided.

    Commitments related to LTC include creating enforceable national standards for LTC and providing a dedicated Seniors’ Care Transfer to provinces and territories.

    Other commitments include upholding Jordan’s Principle to ensure Indigenous peoples receive the health care they need regardless of jurisdiction; ensuring drug users have access to the medical support they need; and developing a national water strategy to ensure everyone in Canada has safe drinking water.

  • Liberal Party Platform 2021 Election – Summary

    Liberal Party of Canada logo A $3.2 billion investment over four years to hire 7,500 family doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners sees the Liberal Party platform emphasize enhanced access to primary care through incentives to attract health care workers to remote and rural locations, and investments to expand virtual health care services.

    The recruitment strategy involves increased student loan forgiveness to health professionals (including family doctors) working in rural communities. A further $6 billion is dedicated to support the elimination of health system wait-lists, though specifics on how the investment will achieve this are not provided.

    These items align well with the CFPC’s call to action to enhance accessibility for patients in a Patient’s Medical Home vision, and previous calls made in 2019 for the Primary Health Care Transition Fund. Lacking in the platform are national standards for virtual care and specific mention of support for jurisdictions to establish blended payment models.

    The Liberal Party also pledges to improve long-term care (LTC) through an investment of $9 billion over five years. Aspects of this pledge include training more personal health care workers, raising their minimum wage, and implementing national LTC standards.

    The creation of a new permanent and dedicated funding stream in the form of a Canada Mental Health transfer has also been announced, with an initial pledge of $4.5 billion over five years.

    The Liberal Party platform proposes to restrict extra billing for publicly insured services and establish regulations governing sexual and reproductive health services. Compliance will be enforced by strengthening federal powers to deduct health transfers and apply automatic penalties to provinces that fail to comply. The platform also continues the promise of a national universal pharmacare program, though no funding for implementation is proposed.

    A series of initiatives for Indigenous health and well-being are provided, including developing a new framework for Indigenous LTC, implementing Joyce’s Principle, continuing to fund both Jordan’s Principle and the Inuit Child First Initiative, and supporting mental health care with an additional pledge of $1.4 billion. The platform also includes a continued commitment to address clean water issues.
  • NDP Party Platform 2021 Election – Summary

    New Democratic Party logo The NDP health platform emphasizes access to primary care and has pledged to reduce wait times, improve virtual care infrastructure, and address concerns of privatization so everyone living in Canada can receive high-quality, continuous care. The plan offers no specific proposed investments to enable these goals.

    The NDP also strongly champions universal national pharmacare, which would provide public coverage for prescription medications, with an annual federal investment of $10 billion. The CFPC is aligned with this policy principle as it would help to reduce inequities and improve health outcomes for the population in Canada.

    Long-term care (LTC) receives a pledge to introduce national standards and a commitment to eliminate private for-profit LTC.

    The NDP are also committing to a series of initiatives to improve Indigenous health, including Joyce’s Principle, which states that all Indigenous people have an equal right to the highest standard of physical and mental health, with a right to access traditional medicines. Investments into improvement of infrastructure, mental health care availability, and Indigenous-led LTC have also been pledged. At this time no specific funding has been announced for these programs.
     

Past Successes

In 2019, the CFPC graded all national party platforms in three priority areas:

  • Timely access to care through the Patient’s Medical Home

  • Universal national pharmacare

  • Integrating mental health into primary care

The Liberal Party, re-elected to a minority government in 2019, adopted these three priorities as part of their platform. The current government has made limited progress in these areas, though the overwhelming nature of COVID-19 has sidelined most other health policy initiatives since March 2020. The government has pledged additional resources to support mental health services and shown openness to adopting many principles of the Patient’s Medical Home in support of primary care.

No results found.

No results found.

No results found.