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Federal Party Platforms

Resident Doctors of BC reached out to candidates in eleven of the ridings where residents train, to ask about their party’s position on Health Human Resources. We asked:

“Healthcare human resource planning is a growing topic of concern for physicians and patients, particularly given the disconnect between a lack of jobs for graduating residents and a lack of access to physicians for the general public. What role would your federal government play in the development of a more comprehensive HHR strategy?”

Below are the responses we received:

  • Chilliwack-Hope

    NDP – Seonaigh MacPherson:

    A New Democratic government in Ottawa would provide $300M over four years to construct or expand 200 health-care clinics across the country. Another $200M would go to recruitment grants for providers such as doctors and nurse practitioners, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 for each. The grants would be administered by the provinces. Communities with a shortage of doctors will have priority under the program, which also includes measures to fund mobile health clinics in rural areas. Mulcair said the measures are aimed at hiring 7,000 new healthcare providers.

    See the same info and more in a CBC article (below):


  • Nanaimo-Ladysmith

    Conservative – Mark MacDonald:

    Thank you for your inquiry about Conservative health care policy and medical staffing. As you know, this is a complex topic involving both federal and provincial considerations, since the federal government funds Provincial health care by transfer payments.

    Below is a brief summary “Investing in the Health of Canadians” concerning health care from the Conservative Budget 2015. Further below more details are copied from the same document. I appreciate that this information is not an exact answer to your question, but the growth and certainty of federal transfer payments are a key part of each jurisdiction’s, and ultimately each teaching and clinical facility’s, outlook for health care staffing.

    The Conservative government has legislated predictable, increasing funding, to assure predictability for health care planning.


    The Nanaimo – Ladysmith Conservative candidate, Mark MacDonald, appreciates that health care delivery is a very important concern and if elected would be pleased to follow up further with you.

    Green – Paul Manly:

    We need to look at the disconnect between available jobs for graduating residents and access to physicians for the general public. We also need to address the issues of uneven access across the country and ensure that health care providers are not overworked. The Green Party supports the creation of a national Healthcare Human Resource Observatory to ensure that all Canadians have equal access to health care across provincial and urban/rural boundaries.

    We need coordination across the country between health care providers and educators and to collect more comprehensive data on the supply and demand of health care resources. Better allocation of health care professionals will also go a long way to reducing the disproportionate burdens placed on rural health care workers.

    An overall view of needs across the country would go a long way to ensure that all of them are being met without overburdening health care providers. In many rural areas, there are not enough health care providers to meet local demand. We need a way to work proactively to address these issues.

    B.C. has an increasing number of seniors, and particularly Vancouver Island. If we are to meet the challenges of an aging population, we need to plan carefully. An HHR Observatory, collecting data and best practices will help us to plan for the future and meet these challenges.

    The Green Party has a whole range of comprehensive health policies in its online policy book, Vision Green, available at www.greenparty.ca.  It’s fully searchable, and if you’d like find out more, it’s in Section 4.7 Healthier people – healthier care.

    Liberal – Tim Tessier:

    Thank you for taking the time to write to me about this critical topic. I appreciate this opportunity to discuss our healthcare system, the challenges it faces and the solutions the Liberal Party proposes.

    Our health care system is a pillar of Canadian citizenship. Yet, it has been more than a decade since a Canadian Prime Minister sat down with provincial and territorial Premiers to strengthen health care, so that it can meet current needs and so we can ensure its sustainability into the future.

    This starts with a new federal commitment to expanding, investing in, and prioritizing home care. Other countries with successful, universal health systems have made the necessary shift from physician-and hospital-based care to an integrated, primary-care system that incorporates community, home, and long-term care. Home care must become an even more important part of our own health care system. We know that many Canadians would choose to receive care at home. A patient-centered approach adapts to Canadians’ lifestyles and needs –enabling them to have independence and dignity. We also know that this helps reduce cost burdens within our health care system, allowing additional resources to be brought to bear to improve quality. More than two million Canadians currently receive help or care at home because of a long-term health condition, a disability, or problems related to aging. The number of people receiving or wanting home care will only increase with our aging population. Many provinces have also already adopted their own strategies to delivering home care support services to Canadians. But now, after a decade of inaction from Stephen Harper, federal leadership is required. We need real change now.

    A new Liberal government will re-engage on Canadian health care and negotiate a new Health Accord with provinces and territories, including a long-term agreement on funding. As an immediate commitment, we will invest $3 billion over the next four years to prioritize additional and improved home care services for all Canadians. Our commitment is nothing less than ensuring an integrated primary care system in Canada that is multidisciplinary, patient-centered, and committed to managing chronic disease within community, home, and long-term care settings. We will work with the provinces and territories to ensure all Canadians have access to highquality in-home caregivers, financial supports for family care, and, when necessary, palliativecare.

    As part of a Liberal government’s commitment to a new, ten-year investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure, we will prioritize significant, new investment in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities –including long-term care facilities. We will also expand access to the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit, so that it is available for more than only end-of-life care.

    A Liberal government’s additional priorities for a new Health Accord will include: Pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation. We will work with provinces and territories to overcome obstacles to innovation in health care delivery and to disseminate and scale up successful new practices, such as ways to use genomics in precision medicine. This includes supporting initiatives that help health care providers collaborate, across Canada, to ensure the most appropriate and effective treatments and practices for their patients. By using the best available evidence, governments can increasingly work together to support front-line health providers as they deliver high-quality and effective care to Canadians.

    We will also increase the availability of high-quality mental health services for Canadians. This includes implementing an integrated approach to ensure access to acute services, tertiary care referrals, housing, primary care, and community and multidisciplinary team management. We will establish a pan-Canadian Expert Advisory Council on Mental Health, particularly to advise on the implementation of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s recommendations. We will create new centres of excellence that will specialize in mental health, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and related issues for both veterans and first responders.

    As we expand the afore-named areas, more staffing will be required in all of them.  There will be a subsequent increase in employment opportunities as a result.  That will certainly make a difference in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

    On a related issue, The Liberal Party of Canada supports federal collaboration with provincial and territorial partners to tackle critical needs like improving access and reducing the cost of prescription medications. A Liberal government will improve access to necessary prescription medications. We will join provincial and territorial governments to negotiate better prices for prescription medications and to buy them in bulk –reducing the cost governments pay to purchase drugs.

    We will support and disseminate research and best practices to reduce unnecessary over-prescribing of medications, particularly for the elderly, who often take multiple medications. We will prioritize decreasing the number of harmful, adverse drug reactions by improving reporting, and ensuring more research and follow-up on reported adverse effects. We will continue to ensure timely approvals for new medicines, many of which not only improve patient health, but reduce overall health care costs as well. We will consult with industry and review the rules used by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board to ensure value for the money governments and individual Canadians spend on brand name drugs

    I know this is a lot of reading to wade through.  Thanks for bearing with me!


    Tim Tessier

  • Vancouver-Granville

    Liberal – Jody Wilson-Raybould:

    A Liberal government will re-engage on Canadian health care and negotiate a new Health Accord with provinces and territories, including a new, long-term agreement on funding. We will re-engage in areas where there is direct federal responsibility and work collaboratively with our provincial and territorial partners to tackle critical issues like extensive wait times, and lack of access to physicians.

    We need a conversation that goes beyond simply mirroring commitments made in previous decades. We need a federal government committed to innovation, collaboration, and partnering with provinces and territories to achieve a modern, efficient, equitable system of universal health care. We need a partner who understands that to get Canadians the health care they need, we require a serious and substantial response from the federal government. This starts with a new federal commitment to expanding, investing in,  and prioritizing health care.

    I look forward to working with you and Resident Doctors of British Columbia if I am elected. Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns. I hope I can count on your vote on October 19th.


    NDP – Mira Oreck

    I have attached a letter from our central campaign in pdf format that you can share with your members regarding the NDP plan on healthcare human resources. I hope that this letter answers your questions and sets your members minds at ease.

    The NDP stands behind the healthcare workers of this country and is committed restoring the cuts that the Conservatives have dealt in their years in office.

  • Vancouver-Quadra

    Liberal – Joyce Murray

    Thank you for you letter inquiring about my and the Liberal Party’s proposals for healthcare human resource planning in Canada.

    We base our policy proposals off of the premise that every Canadian, regardless of their background or circumstance, deserves access to timely, publicly funded, universal health care.

    Regrettably, for the last ten years under Stephen Harper, healthcare has been virtually absent from the federal agenda. Instead, Harper’s Conservatives have reduced health funding to the provinces, territories, and Aboriginal governments, as well as made deep cuts to drug treatment, mental health care, and suicide prevention. Furthermore, Stephen Harper’s government refused to re-negotiate the 2004 Liberal Health Accord – resulting in its expiry in March 2014. Canadians deserve better.

    A new Liberal government will reengage with Canadian healthcare and and negotiate a new Health Accord with provinces and territories, including a new, long-term agreement on funding. We will also work in areas where there is direct federal responsibility, including health promotion and first nation’s health, and work collaboratively with our provincial and territorial partners to tackle the critical issues that matter to Canadians – like extensive wait times, the high cost of prescription drugs, community-based health care, and treatment for mental health.

    To learn about our policy commitments, please visit our platform at: www.RealchChange.ca

  • Victoria

    Green – Jo-Ann Roberts

    The delivery of health care may be a provincial responsibility, but
    the federal government also plays a significant role in funding health care and shaping health care policies.
    The federal government needs to commit to a comprehensive healthcare human resource (HHR) planning in Canada. Governments keep telling Canadians how they are going to ‘fix’ the health care system. Yet many problems are actually getting worse, including longer wait-lists for diagnosis and surgery, over-crowded emergency rooms, a lack of jobs for graduating residents, and increasing shortages of family doctors.

    In particular, the Green Party will provide funds to begin training more doctors and nurses. We will also provide student loan forgiveness incentives for graduating doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other health care professionals who agree to staff rural facilities and family practice clinics where recruitment is currently a problem.
    It is a matter of training more doctors and ensuring better allocation of doctors − more family doctors, fewer specialists, and channeling more doctors into working in rural areas.

    NDP – Murray Rankin

    Thank you for your message to Murray Rankin.  We apologize for the delay in responding.

    The NDP takes healthcare human resources planning very seriously.  We expect you’ve already received the NDP’s reply letter (attached) on this issue.

    Since that letter was written, the full NDP platform has been released and includes additional information.  To ensure that Canadians can access public health care where and when they need it, the NDP will reverse Stephen Harper’s cuts to the Canada Health Transfer. To provide stability, we will ensure the transfer increases by at least 6% per year. This will put over $5 billion back into health care in the next four years to address the priorities that provinces and Canadians have identified, including:
    – Helping five million Canadians get better access to family doctors and primary care teams by building 200 clinics across Canada, including community health clinics and mobile rural clinics;
    – Providing funding to the provinces and territories to hire over 7,000 doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health professionals;
    – Making prescription drugs more affordable by securing better prices and working with provinces towards universal coverage for all Canadians;
    – Supporting improved seniors’ care by expanding home care to over 41,000 more seniors and helping provinces build 5,000 more nursing home beds.

    Thanks again for writing about this important issue.

The New Democratic Party as whole also responded to our question with a letter.

Mecleans Primer on Healthcare

Maclean’s has produced a primer on the health care promises in the party campaigns.

CNA Health Care Questionaire

The Canadian Nurses Association contacted five of the parties with various questions relating to healthcare, and have compiled the responses.

BC Health Coalition Election Gude

The BC Health Coalition has compiled an election guide covering the party stances on various health care strategies.

CFPC Election Guide

The College of Family Physicians of Canada has compared the party platforms in their elections coverage.

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author: Michelle Seymour