Majority say leader that prioritizes the health of all Canadians will earn their vote, according to report
Canada’s health care system is top of mind for locals ahead of the 2021 federal election, according to a report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
Respondents say that this is the number one area (24 per cent) requiring federal investment, ahead of the economy (22 per cent) and affordable housing. Climate change and management of the pandemic follow closely, according to the report.
Six out of 10 respondents stated that the political party that prioritizes the health of all Canadians will earn their vote.
“Voters are sending a very strong message to political parties and candidates – they expect federal commitments to fix our health care system,” said Dr. Katharine Smart, CMA president. “It's time to step up and take a leadership position. Canadians are ready to support you.”
Work to do
But there is a lot of work to do for whoever will be elected, according to CMA’s survey of 2,000 Canadian adults conducted between Sept. 3 and 6, 2021.
Nearly nine in 10 (89 per cent) said long-term care (LTC) needs to be fixed for seniors and 87 per cent agreed that supporting health care workers will improve access to care and ensure the quality of care.
Around three-quarters believe that the federal government must prepare for the next pandemic (76 per cent) and that addressing climate change will ensure better health for all Canadians, particularly future generations.
Sixty-six per cent of respondents agree that reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will improve their health and health outcomes.
It's time for a national discussion on what's needed to strengthen and sustain health care, Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, previously said when the federal election date was set.
“The Canada Health Transfer is a vital source of funding for health services across Canada. Funding increases are urgently needed to strengthen access to and quality of long-term care and home care, particularly for our frail elderly population,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted that the need for investment in health research in Canada has never been greater, Dale added.
“While the Government of Canada responded with funding enhancements over the past year, a cohesive, national funding strategy could help better-support research and innovation and spur greater commercialization of research in Canada.
“The pandemic has reminded Canadians what can be done when there is a sense of true crisis and urgency. It's time to build on that momentum and begin to fundamentally rethink the organization of Canada's healthcare system.”
Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians surveyed believe that the high number of deaths in LTC homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner, according to a previous report.