Decades of cuts to federal health care transfers by Liberal and Conservative governments, exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have undermined our health care system’s capacity to provide health care services to Canadians. Currently, one in five Canadians does not have a family doctor.

I hear from constituents, advocacy groups and unions representing health care professionals and workers on a daily basis about the need for a plan. A plan must include:

  • Increased federal financial support through the Canada Health Transfer;
  • Measures that address staffing shortages such as accelerating foreign credential recognition and incentives to attract more physicians into family care;
  • Increasing medical and nursing school seats;
  • Investments in preventative care; and,
  • Expanding non-profit long-term care beds.

We need political will, cooperation, and accountability from all jurisdictions. We need national leadership to protect and enhance our Universal Public Health Care system.

IN NEWS – Federal Retirees – Advocacy Spotlight: Nanaimo and area branch participates in health-care roundtable

In January, Nanaimo and area branch past-president Bob Willis and advocacy liaison Marg Smith attended a seniors' health-care roundtable in Qualicum Beach hosted by MP Gord Johns and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Willis and Smith were two of just 10 community leaders invited to attend the roundtable, thanks to the branch's ongoing advocacy work.

The roundtable discussion focused on issues in the health-care system, such as the shortage of physicians and other health-care practitioners in Oceanside, the barriers internationally trained physicians face in qualifying to practice medicine in the province, as well as the hurdles that Canada-trained physicians encounter to practice medicine in other provinces. 

IN THE NEWS- NDP demanding better mental health supports

NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement on the Liberals' new health care agreement with the provinces and territories, and its exclusion of urgently needed mental health funding:

“After doing everything right and isolating during a global pandemic, Canadians are now dealing with a cost-of-living crisis exacerbating stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. But when people reach out for help, they’re met with either wait lists that are months long or high costs that put help out of reach.

Mental health care is health care. No one should have to decide between filling their fridge or getting the quality health care they need. But unfortunately, Canadians are having to make tough choices. That’s why people were expecting Justin Trudeau to include real mental health supports in his government’s new health care agreement with the provinces and territories – but Canadians have yet again been disappointed by the Liberals

There’s still no funding in sight for their promised Canada Mental Health Transfer and with the new health care plan, no specific or measurable funds have been given for community mental health and substance use treatment. People's lives are on the line – and they shouldn’t have to rely on our overcrowded emergency rooms as a primary resource for help. With 35 per cent of Canadians experiencing severe mental health issues it’s unconscionable to hold back on health funding.

The government needs to be doing everything possible to reduce barriers people face when they reach out for help. New Democrats are urging the Liberals to stop delaying and increase mental health spending to expand access to care, reduce strain on emergency rooms, reduce the high costs of services for patients, and put supports in place to fight Canada’s toxic drug crisis. We will keep fighting to make sure people suffering from mental health issues and substance use disorders can get the support they need without fear of the costs"

IN THE NEWS- NDP urging the Liberals to stop breaking their health care promises and protect Canadians

NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction critic Gord Johns made the following statement as the federal government’s decriminalization pilot program in British Columbia is set to start:

“Canada is in a public health crisis as thousands of Canadians struggle with their mental health and with substance use disorders. It is encouraging that all the efforts of the British Columbia’s NDP government have resulted in the removal of stigma for drug users through the decriminalization of substance use. There is, however, an urgent need for this same approach to be taken across the country. 

Outside of B.C., 14 Canadians die every single day because of the toxic drug crisis. And with the high costs and long waitlists to get help, people are being forced to turn to our already overwhelmed Emergency Rooms. Canadians want to see a real plan for mental health and addiction supports that include the provision of a safe regulated supply for users, on-demand treatment services and recovery and prevention programs across the country"

IN THE NEWS-Victoria News- NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Gord Johns talks health care with experts in Qualicum Beach

The federal NDP leader and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns were in Qualicum Beach Tuesday (Jan 24) for a roundtable meeting of experts on seniors health care. Johns said the roundtable included health professionals, as well as people with lived experience in the health-care system. 

Johns said he and Singh head "loud and clear" from the experts that there is a "significant need" for retention, recruitment and support of health-care workers, including more supports for students who are studying in Canada to become doctors and nurses. 

"Good care comes when hospitals and long-term care homes are properly staffed", said Johns. "The most important way to improve health care is more health-care workers" 

IN THE NEWS- Gord urges Liberal Government to prioritize mental health support

OTTAWA – Last week, NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns sent a letter to the Minister of Finance urging her to prioritize mental health and substance use care in the government’s 2023 Federal Budget by creating better programs to support Canadians.

“Canadians need mental health supports. After doing everything right to protect our communities during a global pandemic, people have been experiencing extreme stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation. They need more access to services that can help them,” said Johns. “The Liberals have continued to make promises then they never deliver on them—and it's Canadians who are paying the price. While the Liberals stall on funding commitments, families are losing their loved ones— something needs to change."

IN THE NEWS- Liberals are failing Canadians mental health by refusing to deliver on mental health supports

In response to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) calling on the Liberals to implement a mental health care transfer payment to the provinces and territories, NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement:

Across the country, people are suffering because they don’t have access to the mental health services they need. With the rising cost of living and long waitlists it’s almost impossible for people to get support when they need it. The provinces and territories have time and time again asked the Liberal government to step up on health care funding, but they haven’t acted.

IN THE NEWS- Gord calls for the need from Liberals to fund healthcare to make sure Canadians are supported

OTTAWA– Healthcare workers on Vancouver Island and in coastal communities have been working tirelessly over the past two years. Even before the pandemic, they have been dealing with burnout due to staffing shortages. Today, local NDP MPs Gord Johns (Courteney-Alberni) and Rachel Blaney (North Island – Powell River) have joined their party’s calls for the Liberals to strengthen the country’s healthcare system, to keep people healthy and safe.

“Nurses, care workers and doctors have been working long days, under immense pressure with few breaks, to care for our loved ones during this pandemic. They can’t be expected to continue under these conditions forever. The Liberal government owe health care workers better than that,” said Johns. “The Trudeau government cannot wait to fix the gaps in our healthcare system, they need to invest now. Canadians cannot afford to wait any longer.”

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