Health and Wellbeing

Policy Discussion Brief

Glen wants to hear your ideas about important policy issues. Our Policy Discussion briefs provide an overview of an issue, like health and safety, and describes options for responding, including how Glen would implement policy as leader of the Green Party of Canada. To get involved in the conversation, email us at policy@glenmurray.ca or register for a town hall Zoom call at https://www.glenmurray.ca/.

Issue: Health

Covid-19 has surfaced worker social and health vulnerabilities, including lack of paid sick-leave, opportunities for increasing use of telecare services and better management of health records, as well as the role of the private sector in providing health services, including long-term care. Canadians are rightly concerned about the healthcare system and want to see a post-COVID-19 response to reduce vulnerabilities and to increase protection for all Canadians.

Glen Murray says: “We need a fully public health care system focused on sustaining well-being from birth to death. Reform is essential to fill existing gaps in services, but also to better deliver those services efficiently and effectively.

“The goal of governing should be to make people healthier, physically and mentally. Our healthcare system needs to move from an illness model to a wellness focus, but so too does social policy, and our planning and investment in the built environment and transportation systems. Active transportation (cycling, walking infrastructure) green spaces, and re-localizing food for food security and better nutrition are essential components of our health care system. So too is a guaranteed liveable income.”

What Glen would do? Canadians are looking for new investments in our social safety net and healthcare system in response to the COVID0-19 pandemic response.  We have learned some important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and it provides an opportunity for the Green Party of Canada to review and update its healthcare and health and well-being policies.  

Glen would:

  • Add a health and well-being lens (physical and mental) to all federal policy and programs proposals and evaluations.
  • Undertake a thorough review of Canada’s health vulnerabilities and opportunities to improve preparedness, telehealth, electronic recordkeeping (including privacy issues).
  • Identify options for bringing long-term care within the publicly funded healthcare system. 
  • Provide health protections and paid sick leave for frontline and contract workers.

Background: Social safety net and health care vulnerabilities are not new. COVID-19, however, has made these vulnerabilities so clear Canada can no longer ignore them. The tragedy unfolding in our long-term health-care facilities and the financial anxiety of too many Canadians is unacceptable. In addition to ensuring the conversation about guaranteed liveable income and pharmacare become official Canadian policy, we need a thorough review of Canada’s health vulnerabilities and opportunities to improve preparedness, telehealth, electronic recordkeeping (including privacy issues).

Green Party policy:  I endorse Green Party of Canada policy to:

    • Restore the federal/provincial Health Accord, basing health transfers on demographics and real health care needs in each province.
    • Expand the single-payer Medicare model to include Pharmacare for everyone as well as free dental care for low-income Canadians. 
    • Create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protection periods. 
    • Establish a national mental health strategy and a suicide prevention strategy to address the growing anxieties plaguing Canadians regarding inequality and affordability, the growing precariousness of work and housing, the climate crisis, social isolation, resurgent racial and ethno-nationalism and other harms and risks.
  • Protect our public blood system by prohibiting for-profit blood collection services and removing barriers to blood donations not based on science.

Green Party Plan for Covid-19 Recovery: Re-imaging our Future

  • Seniors and their caregivers
    • Establish a national inquiry into seniors’ care pre-pandemic with possible criminal prosecution.
    • Ensure no private ownership of seniors’ care and living, rather public ownership and/or non-profit management structures. There should also be a variety of housing options available.
    • Place seniors’ care under the Canada Health Act.
    • Develop national standards for eldercare and staffing.
    • Negotiate agreements for care with provincial governments through the Council of Canadian Governments.
    • Improve resident safety via standard national guidelines for personal support workers which: cover minimum staffing levels in care homes; require more full-time staff who are properly paid, so there is no need for workers to work in multiple facilities; and improves both continuity and quality of eldercare and provides better working conditions for staff.
    • Invest in training and education to support ongoing professional development and specialization.
    • Fund transformative dementia care.
    • Encourage innovative solutions to increase availability of the following within care homes: space for patients under quarantine; access to rapid testing; and appropriate personal protective equipment.
    • Fully fund high-dose flu vaccines and expansion of pneumococcal coverage for all Canadians over 65, especially those in congregate settings.
  • A vaccine to protect us all:
    • A new vaccine must be free – big pharma must not profit.
    • Prioritize vaccine distribution to vulnerable populations.
    • Invest in research to develop a vaccine and treatment.
    • Increase funding in essential medical research and related science.
  • A national mental health standards and immediate investments in both community-based service organizations and provincial and municipal mental health services to cope with the trauma and anxiety the pandemic is leaving in its wake.
    • A national suicide prevention plan to prevent an increase in death by suicide.
    • Universal childcare and early childhood education are crucial components in developing comprehensive care for all Canadians. It is time for federally funded and mandated programs.
    • Implement national universal pharmacare.
    • Protect, listen to, and amplify the voices of women, including trans women, girls, femme-identified and non-binary people, racialized women and women of colour, Indigenous women and immigrant women.

Learn more: Green Party of Canada Platform: https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform