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Federal Government Taps Sun Life to Advance Next Stage of Dental Care
The federal government taps Sun Life to advance the next stage of dental care as gender politics creeps back into the public forum. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.
Around the Bubble
- The House of Commons and the Senate are adjourned for the summer. The House is scheduled to return on Monday, September 18, while the Senate is scheduled to return on Tuesday, September 19.
- With the Conservative Party of Canada’s national convention taking place in Quebec City this week, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has been forced to answer publicly for various controversial policy proposals put forward by party members, including one that would call on the government to prohibit “life-altering medicinal or surgical interventions” related to gender for anyone under 18 years old. Poilievre offered a strong stance on the issue by noting that he is not bound by the ideas that party members choose to advance. That hasn’t stopped the government from weighing in on such matters, however. Last week, Minister Marci Ien (Women, Gender Equality and Youth) remarked that gender identity policies being advanced in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick were a matter of life or death for transgender and non-binary kids. Also, this week, Health Minister Mark Holland announced close to $1.3 million in funding for projects that will improve access to vital sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and reduce barriers to care for underserved communities through healthcare provider training, SRH awareness campaigns, and culturally relevant tools and resources.
- Now-Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos (formerly Minister of Health) and newly minted Minister of Health Mark Holland teamed up to announce an Early Work Agreement worth up to $15 million has been awarded to Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life) to advance work toward the completed launch and successful operation of the Canadian Dental Care Plan. Once fully implemented, the Canadian Dental Care Plan is expected to support up to 9 million uninsured lower-income Canadian families in getting access to oral healthcare, with no co-pays for those with family incomes under $70,000.
- In recognition of September being a month for cancer awareness (particularly for childhood, ovarian, prostate, blood, leukemia and lymphoma, thyroid, and uterine cancers), Minister Holland remarked on the importance of cancer awareness, given the staggering toll the disease takes on Canadian families. Minister Holland underscored the important role the federal government plays in supporting cancer research, including its ongoing support for Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the launch of the Pan-Canadian Cancer Data Strategy.
Around the Dominion
- Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dr. Andrew Furey announced that September 17 to 23, 2023 would mark the first “Well-Being Week” in the province. This is the latest step towards achieving the province’s goal of becoming one of Canada’s healthiest provinces by 2031. Well-being will also be a key consideration in policy and spending decisions and programs moving forward, with a heightened focus on determinants such as access to housing, food, water, justice, money, and education, as well as residents’ experience of equity, social connection, and safety.
- The Government of New Brunswick announced it has begun working on the development of a lung cancer screening program aimed at high-risk patients. The program is expected to be rolled out provincewide in 2025. New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in Canada, accounting for more cancer deaths than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
- The Government of New Brunswick also announced it is providing financial support to help the University of New Brunswick create a three-year bachelor of nursing program in Saint John. The pilot program, launching in September 2024, will complement the university’s current four-year delivery model by offering the regular program in a condensed timeline.
- The Government of Alberta announced that as part of its Health Care Action Plan, a new facility at Enoch Cree Nation is expected to open by June 2025 and will offer about 3,000 publicly funded orthopedic surgeries per year. The facility will be one of the first built on First Nation land in Canada and will be operated by Enoch Cree Nation. The partnership between Enoch Cree Nation and Alberta Health Services will support a culturally safe facility that will provide high-quality surgical care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
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September 08 | 2023