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Day of Action

Each year, medical students from across Canada travel to Ottawa to meet with Parliamentarians and propose a positive health systems change. This event includes extensive advocacy training in advance of the meetings. It is an excellent opportunity for medical students interested in national health care advocacy.

Representatives from each of our member institutions are selected at the local level. Please contact your respective Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee representative if you are interested in being a part of Lobby Day.

The Day of Action would not be possible without our dedicated team of medical students on the Day of Action Research Committee that puts together the ask document, backgrounder document, and coordinates the consultation process. 

2018 Day of Action: Indigenous Mental Wellness

Mental wellness is a critical issue for Indigenous communities in Canada. The prevalence of mental illness and suicide is significantly higher amongst Indigenous people than the general Canadian population. Two years after the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in 2015, the issue remains largely unresolved with access to high-quality, culturally-competent mental health care continuing to be limited amongst Indigenous communities.

As an organization, the CFMS acknowledges that critical healthcare needs amongst Indigenous populations remain largely unmet, especially within the realm of mental health and wellness. As such, we believe as future healthcare professionals, we have an obligation to advocate for the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples.

Lobby Day 2017: The National Opioid Crisis

Medical students from coast to coast are gathering on Parliament Hill for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students' (CFMS) annual Lobby Day. These students are meeting with MP's and Senators in Ottawa to advocate for a greater focus on upstream approaches to the national opioid crisis.

Canadians are the second highest per capita consumers of prescription opioid drugs in the world, with physicians writing 53 prescriptions for opioid drugs for every 100 people in the country. The widespread availability of opioids has led to increasing rates of opioid dependency and a demand for illicit opioids nationwide, issues which have culminated in calls for the federal government to declare a public health emergency, as was done in April last year at the provincial level in British Columbia.

In November 2016, the federal government took its first steps toward national action on the growing opioid crisis with the introduction of Bill C-37, which, if passed, will reverse a number of barriers to the development of harm-reduction programs. Medical students nationwide strongly support the passing of Bill C-37 and support the development of harm-reduction programs, since these are proven to decrease the morbidity and mortality of the opioid crisis.

In addition to Bill C-37, the CFMS is calling on the Government of Canada to prioritize the following:

  1. Increased access to multidisciplinary chronic pain centres by supporting provincial/territorial efforts to develop these programs.  
  2. Increasing investment in research investigating the interactions between mental illness and opioid misuse.

Given the widespread impact of the opioid crisis on the health of all Canadians, the CFMS has prioritized the issue for Lobby Day 2017. Delegates have already begun discussing key issues and recommendations with MP's and Senators. Stay tuned to the CFMS Facebook and Twitter accounts for live coverage throughout the day!

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For More Information:

Yipeng Ge, Vice President Government Affairs
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
[email protected]

Willow Thickson, National Officer of Indigenous Health
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
[email protected]

Christina Schweitzer, Vice President Communications
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
[email protected]