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The CFMS is an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations.
PRESS RELEASE: Federal Budget 2019 includes announcements on CFMS advocacy areas, including Indigenous health, opioids, Pharmacare, housing, and seniors care
April 06, 2019


OTTAWA, April 5, 2019 - The Federal Government’s 2019 Budget contained information on the following areas related to CFMS advocacy:

Affordable Housing. Up to $1.25 billion (over three years) to increase the affordability of home ownership for first-time home buyers, along with an additional $10 billion (over nine years) to the Rental Construction Initiative to create more affordable rental options. The Federal Government is also proposing legislation to maintain a National Housing Strategy focusing on the housing needs of the most vulnerable, with $2.2 billion being spent towards a program for homelessness reduction and prevention.

The CFMS Homelessness Task Force will be bringing forward a position paper with recommendations to address homelessness at SGM 2019. CFMS has also published a position statement regarding access to affordable housing in 2015.

National Pharmacare. $35 million (over four years) to create the Canadian Drug Agency, which would be responsible for drug evaluation and price negotiation. A proposed $1 billion (over two years) will also be used to increase accessibility of drugs for Canadians with rare diseases.

The CFMS commends the federal government in working to ensure people are able to access the medications they need, which are in the line with the recommendations contained in the CFMS position paper on Pharmacare passed in 2015. CFMS has also done extensive advocacy in this area during Lobby Day 2016, in which approximately 70 medical students from across Canada met with elected officials to discuss the development of a national pharmacare strategy.

Seniors’ Quality of Life. Within the 2019 Budget, the Federal Government has announced legislation to increase earning exemptions to provide greater economic security for low-income seniors. $100 million (over five years) is also being dedicated towards the New Horizons for Seniors program, which aims to improve senior’s quality of life by funding community projects (e.g. community kitchens, social activities).

The CFMS has advocated for improvements to services and policies related to quality of life for seniors during our 2019 Day of Action. Medical students from across the country met with Parliamentarians to propose concrete solutions to improve seniors care and healthy aging in Canada. The CFMS remains hopeful to see increased support to ensure seniors have access to home care, community care, and palliative care through the development of quality indicators at the next Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum.

Indigenous Health. $739 million (over five years) is being earmarked towards eliminating long-term boil water advisories in First Nations communities. $60 million (over five years) will be dedicated towards creating Friendship Centres for Indigenous people living in urban areas, which enhance access to culturally safe services. $50 million (over ten years) will be used to support the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The CFMS commends the actions being taken to address disparities that exist in health outcomes and access to services for Indigenous communities, as indicated in our policy recommendations during our 2018 CFMS Day of Action on Indigenous Mental Wellness. Continued efforts must be made to support the self-determination of Indigenous communities through increased investments in communities.

Health and Well-Being Challenges. Numerous other health commitments that Federal Government has proposed in Budget 2019 include:

These commitments tie into CFMS advocacy work, including position papers with recommendations to increase education about organ and tissue donation in medical school, and to improve the response to the opioid crisis.

Overall, the CFMS is pleased that many of announcements within the Federal Budget 2019 align with our organization’s ongoing advocacy initiatives.

The CFMS, the national voice of Canada’s medical students, will continue to strive to embody our vision: _ “Tomorrow’s physicians leading for health today” _.

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