Weekly Top Stories: Canadian Healthcare Promising Appointments and Path Forward

Published on
October 16, 2023
Written by
Delphic Research
Read time
6 min

In this week's top stories, a new appointee brings fresh hope as Federal Health Minister Mark Holland appointed Peter Moreland-Giraldeau, the Chair of the Canmore Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board for a five-year term through a merit-based selection process. Moreland-Giraldeau, who holds an L.L.M in Common Law from the University of British Columbia, currently serves in a legal capacity at the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers' Compensation, providing counsel to the General Counsel, Commissioners, and Executive of the Commission. Minister Holland expressed that Mr. Moreland-Giraldeau's qualifications in law and experience in the operations and decision-making of quasi-judicial bodies will be a valuable asset to the Board in fulfilling its mandate to support Canadians.

Health Minister Holland also acknowledges the ongoing negotiations for a significant national health accord, highlighting the importance of tailored agreements with provinces to address their unique healthcare needs. Following discussions with provincial health counterparts, he introduces a comprehensive workforce plan aimed at addressing healthcare worker shortages and future challenges. This innovative plan encompasses a 'nurse retention toolkit,' simplified cross-province practice for doctors and nurses, streamlined certification processes for internationally trained health professionals, and enhanced integration of health data.

Furthermore, Canadian health ministers have given their nod to a cross-Canada licensing system for healthcare workers, allowing practitioners to work across provincial borders. While these strategies have garnered widespread approval, Quebec exercises caution due to its jurisdiction over healthcare. Simultaneously, British Columbia is actively planning legislation to enhance the recognition of international credentials, particularly in the healthcare sector.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions emphasizes the need for collaboration between governments, employers, and unions to improve working conditions and fortify the nursing workforce with a pan-Canadian approach to workforce planning. On a similar note, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario has embarked on a Fall Tour to address nursing challenges and underscore the significance of a robust nursing workforce.

In addition, the Ontario Medical Association advocates for universal access to a family doctor and well-coordinated healthcare teams for all Ontarians. Meanwhile, Dr. Braden Manns urges caution when considering the dismantling of Alberta Health Services (AHS), emphasizing the vital role of integration in a high-performing healthcare system.

In other news, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has estimated that implementing a single-payer universal drug plan in Canada, starting on January 1, 2024, over a five-year period, would incur an additional cost of $11.2 billion in the first year and $13.4 billion in five years for federal and provincial governments. While total spending on prescription drugs is expected to increase, the PBO's report suggests that a single-payer system could result in economy-wide savings through improved price negotiations, estimating cost savings of $1.4 billion in 2024-25, rising to $2.2 billion by 2027-28.

The report also explores alternative coverage plans, including those for catastrophic and essential medicines. Building upon a 2017 estimate for a pharmacare plan, it considers current spending on public drug plans and potential revenue from co-pays, as stated by PBO Yves Giroux.

The recent developments in the Canadian healthcare landscape showcase a commitment to addressing the unique needs of both healthcare professionals and patients. The appointment of Peter Moreland-Giraldeau to the PMPRB, along with the proposed initiatives for healthcare worker support and cross-Canada licensing, underscores the government's dedication to improving the healthcare system. The ongoing discussions surrounding the implementation of a single-payer universal drug plan highlight the importance of balancing fiscal responsibility with the desire for accessible and affordable healthcare. As the nation navigates these complex healthcare challenges, collaboration and thoughtful decision-making will be key to ensuring the well-being of all Canadians.

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