Op-Eds

Via the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Canada was an enthusiastic participant in the Commonwealth Fund’s ambitious 18,000-person 2021 survey of seniors in 11 wealthy nations.(Germany, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, the U.S., Norway, Canada, the U.K., France, Sweden and Netherlands). It asked 68 questions about people’s experience with and perception of the health-care system and the health-care providers they deal with.

In our recent C.D. Howe Institute paper, we focused on the results for seniors care. We used 49 indicators from the survey to create five summary categories: access to care, care process, equity, the impact of COVID-19 on seniors and the health status of seniors. Such…

Two years ago, we argued Canada pays insufficient attention to the promotion of good health and the collection of data and information on the health of Canadians. The focus has been on health care, the treatment and care of those already in ill health. 

Policymakers could argue they did not have the full range of insights needed to implement a more comprehensive set of health policies at the time. However, thanks to a new report from Statistics Canada, there is no longer any excuse. 

Unfortunately, the report clings to the custom of equating good health with the absence of disease, especially of chronic conditions, but does report on Canadians’ self-perception of their health status and…

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea.

Émile Chartier is credited with those words or similar, finishing with “…when it’s the only one we have.” 

Canada has tried for nearly 80 years to implement “national pharmacare”—defined here as a fully public national drug insurance plan—without success. We should ask why. 

One reason is an unrelenting insistence that only a fully public plan will work. Fifty years ago that may have been true. When Ottawa didn’t act, we found an alternative: provinces and employers stepped in. 

Between us and a good-quality universal drug insurance plan lie four problems, all of which matter right now. The Liberal-NDP supply-and-confidence agreement promises…

Canadian governments’ lack of transparency is a high-profile concern – and for good reason. Alongside such problems as bureaucratic circumvention of freedom of information laws and ministers responding to questions in legislatures or from the media with mechanical talking points, government finances are far too opaque.

Which brings us to the pandemic of 2020. COVID-19 was not only a health and economic crisis, it was a fiscal crisis. It prompted unprecedented jumps in government spending and borrowing. But how much exactly was going where? We don’t know.

Two years have passed since our federal, provincial and territorial governments closed their books on the fiscal year that ran from April 1, 2020, to March 31,…

Following passage of the Ford government’s Bill 60, Ontario’s ministry of health now has the option to contract out to independent clinics the provision of certain kinds of health-care services normally provided in hospitals. Its opponents have cast the bill as favouring “privatization” and as a threat to the Canadian model of public health care. An emotionally charged television commercial commissioned by the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU) conjures up a dystopian future where stone-faced capitalists in dark suits push a gurney with a teary-eyed post-surgery patient through dim hospital corridors and present her with a touch screen that she must push to pay for pain relief. In case anyone…