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Pharmacare Dreams Meet Fiscal Prudence Realities

Health Minister Mark Holland talks fiscal prudence as he prepares to table legislation on pharmacare. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

On the Hill

  • The House of Commons returned from its break week, with NDP members demanding that the government introduce legislation to implement a single-payer, universal public pharmacare program in Canada.
  • At the Standing Committee on Health, Members continued their consideration of Bill C-293, An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness, where they heard from the Canadian Medical Association and World Animal Protection. The Committee will begin its clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-293 next week with the support of senior departmental officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Soon after, they will begin their study on Women’s Health, with a meeting scheduled for November 6 where they will hear from departmental officials.

Around Government 

  • Health Canada announced $900,000 in funding to the Dr. Peter Centre to implement a national trauma and violence-informed “train-the-trainer” mentorship project to support the mental health of front-line workers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. The funding is part of a larger investment in Budget 2021 of $50 million to help those experiencing, or at risk for, PTSD and trauma due to the pandemic, including front-line and essential service providers.
  • In the House of Commons and in the media, Health Minister Mark Holland responded to demands emerging from the NDP Convention held last weekend in Hamilton, where delegates demanded Leader Jagmeet Singh draw a red line with the Liberals on pending pharmacare legislation. While the NDP continues to demand a single-payer, universal public pharmacare system, Minister Holland has been setting the stage for a “gap-filler” model to be introduced through legislation this fall. Specifically, Holland has latched onto the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s recent report that suggests single-payer, universal public pharmacare could cost as much as $39 billion by 2027.

Around the Dominion

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the beginning of a one-year pilot project to determine the feasibility of a provincial continuous glucose monitoring program. Eligible pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes will receive continuous glucose monitors to monitor their blood sugar levels.
  • The Government of PEI announced that it is preparing for a smooth transition of the leadership at Health PEI. Health Minister Mark McLane announced the appointment of Corinne Rowswell as Acting CEO of Health PEI, effective January 1, 2024. Executive search firm Odgers Berndtson has been engaged to lead the search for a new CEO. The Province also announced that it has begun to implement recommendations of the Long-Term Care COVID-19 External Review Panel’s study into the performance of Prince Edward Island’s public and private long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Newly minted Premier of Manitoba Wab Kinew unveiled his new cabinet, announcing Uzoma Asagwara as Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care. Remarking on the issues that the government will work urgently on to deliver results for residents, Premier Kinew listed “fixing healthcare” as the first priority issue.
  • The Government of Alberta announced that it is funding up to 1,221 spaces at post-secondary institutions for internationally educated nurses to complete the programs they need for certification in Alberta. The funding is specifically intended to address Alberta’s need for highly skilled and dedicated healthcare workers. The funding will allow the provinces to create 848 new registered nurse pathway seats and 373 new licensed practical nurse seats over three years.
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