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This joint-statement came out of the Canadian Health Coalition - Canadian Labour Congress Conference on the Future of Health Care, Oct. 12, 2001

The peoples of Canada believe that health is a fundamental right of every human being without distinction of race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, political belief, economic or social condition. Organizations representing millions of Canadians will mobilize to defend this right and to ensure that the following principles shape the future direction of the health are system:

1. The recognition of the highest attainment of health as a fundamental right throughout life and the necessity of preserving public health through active measures of promotion, prevention, and protection including such determinants as housing, food safety, income, education, environment, employment and peace.

2. The recognition of health care as a public good in which the few must not profit at the expense of the many. We affirm the need for a system of public health care which is organized on the basis of public administration, public insurance and the delivery of services on a public, not-for-profit basis.

3. Opposition to any commercialization and privatization of health. Therefore the federal government must negotiate a general exclusion of health services and health insurance from all trade agreements.

4. The need for the federal government to fully assume its responsibilities in respect to health, particularly by restoring and increasing federal transfers to levels sufficient to secure the integrity and enforcement of the Canada Health Act, 1984.

5. The reaffirmation of the original vision of a truly comprehensive public health care system for Canadians providing a continuum of services. The next steps are the expansion of the public system to include a universal system of home and long-term care services and pharmacare.

6. The need to move away from a fee-for-service model towards a community-based, multi-disciplinary approach to the management, organization and delivery of services and care. Levels of services must be sufficient so that the burden of care does not fall on families, mainly women.

7. An accountable health care system through democratic participation and governance at all levels.

8. The recognition that health care workers are critical to the effective operation of the health care system and that decent wages, working conditions and training opportunities are essential to high quality care and the retention of health care workers.

Regardless of where we live, it is now imperative to reaffirm the social values we all share. These values must guide our collective choices for future social services and public health care. They are incompatible with the commercialization of all public services sought by the international trade agenda.

We believe these values must be adhered to by all governments in Canada, even though jurisdiction is largely a provincial or territorial matter. Therefore, the principles of the Canada Health Act should be enshrined in the laws of each province and territory.

We come together to commit to direct political action to ensure that governments throughout Canada protect and expand health care based on the foundation of the Canada Health Act, 1984. What stands between Medicare and its destruction are the peoples of Canada. Future generations are depending on our vigilance.

Statement Endorsements:

Alberta Friends of Medicare

Alberta Teachers Federation

ALERT PEI

Alliance of Seniors to Protect Canada’s Social Programs

Alliance for Public Accountibility

Annapolis Valley-Hants Community Action Program for Children

Association des enselgnantes et des enselgnants francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick

Association of Allied Health Professionals of Newfoundland

Association of Ontario Health Centres

British Columbia Coalition of People with Disabilities

British Columbia Health Coalition

British Columbia Nurses Union

British Columbia Persons with AIDS Society

Canadian Association of Social Workers

Canadian Association of University Teachers

Canadian Auto Workers

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Canadian Crossroads International (Ontario)

Canadian Environmental Law Association

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

Canadian Federation of Students

Canadian Health Coalition

Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Pensioners Concerned

Canadian Religious Conference

Canadian Teachers Federation

Canadian Union of Public Employees

Cape Breton Save our Health Care Committee

Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association

Chatham-Kent District Labour Council

Communications, Energy & Paper Workers Union of Canada

Community Health Services Association Council of Canadians

Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia

Council of South Asian Seniors

Congress of Union Retirees of Canada

Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN Ontario)

Education Wife Assault

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

Faith Partners (Ottawa)

Family Service Canada

First Call: BC Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition

Green Campus Society (University of Regina)

Halton Social Planning Council (Ontario)

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario)

Hospital Employees Union

INFACT Canada

International Association of Fire Fighter

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Inter Pares

Jewish Women International of Canada

Lakehead Social Planning Council

Lantern Christian Life Centre

Manitoba Medicare Alert

Manitoba Nurses Union

Manitoba Teachers Society

Medical Reform Group

Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

National Action Committee on the Status of Women

National Anti-Poverty Organization

National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation

National Union of Public and General Employees

National Council of Women of Canada

New Brunswick Nurses Union

Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association

North Bay Network for Social Action

North End Community Health Centre (Halifax

North Island AIDS Coalition Society

Northwest Women’s Centre (Thunder Bay

Nova Scotia Citizens Health Care Coalition

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour

NUPGE/Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union

NUPGE/Ontario Public Service Employees Union

Ontario Association of Food Banks

Ontario Association of Social Workers (Eastern Branch

Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations

Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Nurses’ Association

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation

Ottawa-Carleton Child Poverty Action Group

Ottawa Health Coalition

Polaris Institute

Prince Edward Island Health Coalition

Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation

Project Genesis

Public Service Alliance of Canada

Registered Nurses Association of Onatario

Rights and Democracy

Saskatchewan Federation of Teachers

Saskatchewan Health Coalition

Saskatchewan Union of Nurses

Sault Ste. Marie Diocesan Social Affairs Office

Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team (Edmonton)

Service Employees International Union

South Asian Women’s Centre

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees

Toronto Health Coalition

Toronto Women’s Health Network

United Church of Canada

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada

United Nurses of Alberta

United Steelworkers of America

Vancouver Women’s Health Collective

Women’s Health in Women’s Hands

Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada

Working Group on Women and Health Protection

** If your organization would like to endorse this statement please let us know by e-mail or telephone (613-521-3400 Ext. 311#) or fax (613-521-9638)

The public has an abiding sense of the values of fairness and equity and do not want to see a health system in which the rich are treated differently from the poor. The Forum supports this view and supports necessary changes to our system only if we preserve the essence of medicare - universal coverage based on need, without financial barrier, portable across the country, to a comprehensive array of publically administered health care services– National Forum on Health, 1997