Op-Eds

The pandemic has revealed the fragility of Canada’s health care system, and there is growing recognition that changes are needed to curb rising costs and promote efficiency. But in a health care financing model such as ours, change is difficult, especially with responsibility spread across various political masters. We should try a different approach, based on a model such as that in the Netherlands, which scores better on criteria such as completeness of coverage and wait times.

Canadian medicare, of course, is often described as a “single-payer model” because everyone in a given province or territory is covered by the same government plan. Doctors and hospitals derive virtually all of their revenue from the government plan in…

The COVID-19 pandemic has focussed attention on Canada’s preparedness for the next pandemic, especially in terms of vaccine development and self-sufficiency. As we faced disruptions in the supply of COVID vaccines from other countries, many politicians, academics and pundits called for a public agency that would be charged with pandemic vaccine production and possibly vaccine development, as well.

Advocates for a new public vaccine agency cite the historic example of Connaught Labs, which was founded in 1914 at the University of Toronto. Over the years, Connaught made advances in the development and manufacture of vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, smallpox and polio, among others. In 1972, the federal government…

Paper health care records have been a danger to both patients and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been able to get my 85-year old mother’s banking and bills online to keep things up to date. I could even do her taxes and basic government functions online. I should have been able to help manage her health care information too. But I couldn’t. 

This story of failure became clear to me as our team interviewed over a hundred people for my June 2021 report for Health Canada, The State of Virtual Care in Canada as of Wave Three of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Early Diagnostique and Policy Recommendations. Two key deficits in our health-care system became evident when social distancing necessitated virtual care nearly…

In 2021, nothing was different, but everything changed. The COVID-19 pandemic dragged on. The Omicron variant caused a surge in cases, accompanied by now-familiar restrictions and guidance to limit travel, protect seniors and work from home. The same could have been said this week last year, substituting Delta for Omicron. This time, though, there is not the same hope that vaccination will end the pandemic and begin a new normal, whatever new normal might be.

Lots happened in the past year. Vaccines were approved in late 2020, and mass vaccination gave Canada one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Proof-of-vaccination certificates were developed and deployed to balance risks to public health against regaining at…

New Brunswick hospitals are on "red alert," reducing or suspending services to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients as the fourth wave continues. There are 57 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 18 in intensive care, at the time of writing – a number that will continue to fluctuate in the days and weeks to come.

New Brunswickers might reasonably ask if the hospital system is truly threatened by fewer than 20 critical cases after 18 months of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, the province-wide red alert shows that it is.

Why and how is this possible? To this, there is no simple answer.

In less than a month, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has nearly doubled, and the number in ICU has increased…