Advocacy Spotlight: Federal retirees talk public and private health care with CMA

February 07, 2024
Federal Retirees volunteers in Nova Scotia participate in CMA consultations.
At a recent CMA event in Nova Scotia, Federal Retirees volunteers (bottom row from left) Georgette Beaulieu, Cheryl Young and Michelle Langille connected with Dr. Margaret Casey (bottom row right) and Denice Klavano and Dr. Segun (back row, left to right).  

In late 2023 and early 2024, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) held consultations on public and private health care and the future of health care in Canada. These consultations were held as a series of events called CMA Public-Private Focused Dialogue. 

Events were held in a handful of locations across Canada, and attendance was by invitation only. 

The Federal Retirees staff advocacy team secured invitations for volunteers to attend each session and provide their own knowledge and perspectives on the state of health care in their communities.  

The first session took place in Toronto. Ontario advocacy program officers (APOs) Linda MacDonald and Sharon McGovern attended, along with Federal Retirees advocacy staff and CEO Anthony Pizzino.  

Both Ontario APOs spoke about challenges accessing care in Ontario and MacDonald raised some important points about gaps in the conversation.   

“Where does long-term care  fit into the health-care debate? It always seems to be separate, but it is a vital part of the health care continuum,” said MacDonald.  

“As an older Canadian, I think discussion on a national seniors strategy and ageism in medicine would have been well-received,” added MacDonald.   

The second session was held in Montreal. Montreal Branch president Jacques Lambert and vice-president Micheline Jolicoeur participated in this session. 

British Columbia APO Renate Sutherland and Vancouver Branch director Paul Davis joined the third session held in Vancouver. Sutherland spoke on the health care challenges in British Columbia, and Davies brought valuable insight on health care in the Yukon, where he resides. 

“Health care in the territories is different. Access to care is a very big issue. All northern territories only have tertiary care hospitals, so everybody with complex cases gets flown one at a time to primary care hospitals down south,” explained Davis.

The fourth in-person session was held in Halifax. APO Michelle Langille attended, along with Colchester-East Hants Branch directors Georgette Beaulieu and Cheryl Young.

Virtual sessions were held at the end of January. APOs Anne MacEwen (Prince Edward Island), Dorma Grant (New Brunswick) and Marilyn Best (Newfoundland) all attended, along with volunteers from the Avalon-Burin, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Area, North Island-John Finn and Saskatoon branches. 

Having federal retirees participate in these events helps ensure older adults voices and concerns are heard, at a time when public and private health-care conversations are happening across the country. Thank you to all volunteers who participated. 

Due to the success of these events, CMA has announced additional sessions to be held this February in Alberta and Saskatoon. 


About Advocacy Spotlight

Advocacy Spotlight showcases successful initiatives and projects put forward by our dedicated volunteers and supporters.

The National Association of Federal Retirees has a proud history of advocacy on behalf of our members and all retirees. In collaboration with our volunteers and supporters from coast-to-coast, we continue this tradition of strong, smart advocacy campaigns focused on improvements to the financial security, health and well-being of our members and all Canadians. Our success is not only measured in policy changes and legislation. It grows with every meaningful discussion with parliamentarians, and with every email and letter written. Together, we are achieving and surpassing our strategic advocacy goals and targets every day.