Government Relations Report Issue 62

Spring 2007 CSANews Issue 62  |  Posted date : Jun 06, 2007.Back to list

I am happy to report that there has been a significant development in one of our most important areas of ongoing government advocacy.

As many of you are aware, although the Canada Health Act is federal legislation, the day-to-day provision of most health-care services is the responsibility of our provincial and territorial governments. One of the greatest concerns of the Canadian Snowbird Association has always been the general lack of compliance (with some notable exceptions) which our provincial and territorial governments have shown with respect to the portability criterion of the Canada Health Act.
As Gerry Brissenden has covered in greater detail in the president's column, the portability requirement essentially states that residents who are temporarily absent from either their home province or territory or from Canada must continue to be covered for insured health-care services during their absence.
This allows individuals to travel or be absent from their home province or territory, within a prescribed duration, while retaining their health insurance coverage.

At the request of your association, federal Health Minister Tony Clement has now written to every provincial and territorial health minister in Canada reminding them of their obligations under the Canada Health Act.

Having a federal health minister put this in writing and send it to his provincial and territorial colleagues is a big deal, and we are very pleased that we finally have a federal health minister who is listening and acting on our concerns.

Does this letter solve our problem? No, it does not, but it is a VERY encouraging breakthrough and will give us another strong card to play when we revisit the issue with our provincial and territorial elected officials.

In March, the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors) and the Honourable Monte Solberg, minister of human resources and social development, announced the creation of a National Seniors Council on the part of the federal government.

The National Seniors Council will advise the government regarding issues of national importance to seniors. It will help to ensure that government policies, programs and services meet the evolving needs of seniors.

The number of seniors is on pace to double over the next 25 years, so the input of Canada's seniors will continue to grow in importance. With many seniors continuing to work well past age 65, the nature of Canadian society is changing and it's encouraging to see the federal government recognize this important fact.
The CSA supports the creation of this new advisory board and we will be meeting with Senator LeBreton in May to ensure that the voices and concerns of you, our members, are heard.

We've got provincial elections coming up in Manitoba in May and Ontario in October 2007, so we'll be paying particularly close attention to our provincial  representatives in these two provinces over the spring and summer months. I like elections! I always find that politicians are far more punctual in returning our calls the closer they get to voting day! Somehow, I don't think that's a coincidence!