CFPC urges federal government to ensure health care funding is fair for all Canadians

(Mississauga, ON, March 31, 2014) – The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) urges provinces, territories and health care providers to raise the alarm on the changes to federal funding for health care.

Tomorrow, the Government of Canada moves to equal per capita cash allocation, which is simply an amount calculated by dividing the population of a province or territory by Canada’s total population.

This is a move away from per capita funding that accounted for fiscal capacity, demographics and regional health differences.

“Federal transfer payments to provinces and territories is not something most people think about when reflecting on our health care system,” says Dr. Kathy Lawrence, CFPC President. “But this change to how health care is funded means that some provinces will be better off than others – it’s a question of fairness. The CFPC continues to ask the federal government to ensure funding is stable, predictable and fair. It must recognize shifting needs and patterns of health care utilization.”

“Equal per capita cash payments may seem like a simple and visibly “fair” distribution of money,” says Dr. Francine Lemire, Executive Director and CEO of the CFPC. “This method does not acknowledge the difference between equity and equality. Provinces are not equal in their fiscal capacity, or population demographics.”

Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta are well above the provincial average as a result of their natural resource revenues, while Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario are below the average. The provinces also have differences in their populations, in terms of their growth, proportion of elderly population, proportion of Aboriginals or immigrants, and/or incidence of various diseases. These factors will affect the amount of funding needed to sustain the provinces’ respective health systems.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) represents more than 30,000 members across the country. It is the professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training and certification of family physicians. The CFPC reviews and accredits continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licencing requirements and lifelong learning interests. It also accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. The College provides quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine.

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