Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (The Romanow Report)

December 5, 2002

The Hon. Anne McLellan, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Health,
House of Commons,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Re: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (The Romanow Report)

Dear Ms McLellan,
The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), founded in 1893, as a federation working to improve conditions of life for women and their families in the communities where they live, urges the Government to move quickly to act on the recommendations of the Romanow Report. Members were among those thousands of Canadians who spoke out as organizations, or as individuals across the country by writing Briefs, appearing in person, or simply following the proceedings over the last eighteen months.

It was only too apparent during this process that women, who are the principle caregivers (both paid and unpaid), were united in asking for a re-affirmation of the Canada Health Act, with equal access for all citizens, regardless of income level.

Those of us who are seniors, remember that before Canada had its universal single-payer Health Plan, all medical expenses were a cause for worry unless the husband (usually) was employed by a firm that had a generous private medical insurance scheme. Even the simple and natural fact of pregnancy could be loaded with probable health risks and stressful anxiety when the family lacked this financial “cushion”.

The Canada Health Act matters to women at all stages of life, both during the reproductive years and after. It is older women blessed with relatively good health that are the backbone of the volunteer workforce in Canada, a cadre of workers whose ability to “took the brunt of” the ferocious cutbacks in funding for medical follow-up services. Women, a majority of the electors in Canada, have for too long been ignored during the process of developing policy, by use of Gender-Based Analysis.

The National Council of Women of Canada repeats its assertion that this is a time for positive action by all levels of government with leadership from our Federal Government.

NCWC is a member of the International Council of Women, holds Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, and through the Commission for Women’s Affairs is a participating non-governmental organization with the Organization of American States.

With best wishes for your work on this critical issue,

Catharine Laidlaw-Sly
National Council of Women of Canada
c.c. Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien Prime Minister
Hon. John Manley, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Hon. Don Boudria, Leader of the Government in the House
Hon. Jean Augustine, Secretary of State for the Status of Women