Government Relations Report Issue 56

Fall 2005 CSANews Issue 56  |  Posted date : May 23, 2007.Back to list

As you have already read in the president's message, association representatives have been busy attending political functions as well as meeting with individual government officials. On June 22, CSA president Gerry Brissenden and our executive director Lawrence Barker met with Ms. Shelley Martel, the Ontario NDP health critic, at her Queen's Park office. This was a very positive hour-long meeting during which Ms. Martel, in her role as the party's health critic, was given a brief outlining several concerns of snowbird travellers. Ms. Martel is the first of many political leaders with whom the association plans to meet now that the House of Commons and the Legislature have recessed for the summer.

To help our American friends celebrate the 229th anniversary of their independence, our president and executive director were invited to attend the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto celebrations. This event afforded us an excellent opportunity to meet The Honourable Jessica LeCroy, the new U.S. Consul General. Since that meeting, we have been in touch with her office to establish a new contact between the consulate general and the association for day-to-day liaison issues.

Looking beyond Ontario, CSA members in Eastern Canada will no doubt have already marked their calendars with the date of an upcoming Lifestyle Presentation. Similar to our journey west last year, in conjunction with these local meetings in Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the association is planning separate meetings with provincial government officials regarding key advocacy issues. Based on the positive results of our government meetings in Western Canada last year, we are equally optimistic that our planned government meetings in Eastern Canada will move our advocacy efforts forward.

A key ongoing government relations project is our planned release, later this year, of a special report update to our 2002 Travellers Report Card on provincial health care. The working committee is comprised of: Lewis Kehoe, first vice-president Ellen White, immediate past-president Lawrence Barker, executive director Michael MacKenzie, research and communications officer Ross Quigley, advisor to the board Gerry Brissenden, president, ex officio member.

This new updated special report will expand on the original report's rating criteria to look at a variety of medical services provided out of country, as well as the individual provincial/territorial plans' coverage/ reimbursement for those services.

At the time of writing this message, letters have been sent to government ministers, as well as to senior ministry officials across Canada. While many replies – some encouraging – have already been received, we are now in the process of following up with outstanding government departments, as well as cross-referencing the data received on a province-by-province basis. Similar to the 2002 report, once the final data has been received and tabulated from each jurisdiction, an independent consultant will be retained to evaluate our findings and assign an academic grade (A, B, C, D and F) to each criterion. The final report will be issued to members, government and the media. Watch for updates in future government relations columns as this work progresses. This new updated 2005 report will be a critical weapon in our advocacy arsenal when we meet with each respective government before the next scheduled elections.

Pic 2: CSA Executive Director Lawrence Barker, Shelley Martel, MPP, Ontario NDP Health Critic and CSA President Gerry Brissenden following meeting with Ms. Martel at her Queen's Park office.