- The Liberal Party will form a government for the third time as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung on to power in the 2021 elections.
- Canada is now among the most vaccinated countries across the globe and leads the G-7 in vaccination rates.
- In a 36-day election campaign, Trudeau pledged an extra C$6 billion to cut down on wait lists.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau secured victory in the parliamentary elections conducted on Monday, September 20, but fell short of a majority.
The Liberal Party is leading with 158 seats, 12 short of the total 170 they needed to form a majority in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party had a total of 119 seats, with 116 elected and three leading.
This means that the Liberals would need support to form the government, mostly NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is projected as a kingmaker.
Bloc Québécois secured 34 seats, while the New Democrats won 25 seats in the 2021 Canadian elections.
With the Liberal government returning to power, let’s take a closer look at what this means for the health care sector in Canada.
Trudeau in the election campaign capitalized on his government’s handling of the pandemic and pushed for higher vaccination rates in the days to come.
Canada is now among the most highly vaccinated countries across the globe and leads the G-7 in vaccination rates. In August, the Canadian PM made his stance clear by allowing only vaccinated Canadians to travel by rail or air.
Promises on healthcare and vaccine mandates
The 36-day election campaign saw the Liberal Party candidate promising billions for enhancing the country’s health care system, including $3 billion over four years to hire family doctors starting 2022.
In August, Trudeau said that as many as 7,500 family doctors would be hired, and promised student loans and tax incentives for health care professionals.
He also pledged an additional $6 billion to cut down on wait lists in his election campaign.
The Liberals’ win also means mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for federal government staff will likely see the light of day soon.
Present health care scenario in Canada
In June 2021, Statistics Canada reported that one in five vacancies are in the healthcare and social assistance sectors in the country. In addition, these sectors faced their largest year-over-year losses in comparison to other sectors in early 2021.
The total vacancies rose by nearly 39 per cent in the sector, with an increased spread being reported across all sub sectors, according to Statistics Canada. However, the job vacancies were mostly in hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities.
The job vacancies could be attributed to several factors like wage offerings, job profiles, skills required, conditions of the local labor market, and recruitment process.
Given the challenges faced in the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal and provincial governments responded by increasing its healthcare capacity by postponing non-urgent scheduled surgeries in 2020, with intake of only emergency and urgent procedures.
Further results from the Canadian Community Health Survey suggest that almost half of the nurses (48.5 per cent) faced high work stress.
The Liberal government also said during the election campaign that nearly five million citizens are without a family doctor.
According to a report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer on August 4, in order to improve long-term care, the public spending would have to increase by $13.7 billion at first across federal, provincial and territorial governments, with costs expected to grow at 4.1 per cent per year thereafter due to an aging population.
The three-term prime minister also promised that he would push for a new $25 per hour minimum wage for personal support workers (PSW). To achieve this new standard, the federal government will have to work in cooperation with provinces and territories.