Canadians expect federal government to lead on health care | National Union of Public and General Employees

Canadians expect federal government to lead on health care

Strong majority opposes Harper healthcare funding regime – ready for Premiers to take a stand.

Ottawa (26 Aug. 2014)—A new survey released by the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) and conducted by Nanos Research suggests that there is a fundamental disconnect between Canadians and a number of health policies of the Harper Government. 

Desire for federal government to show leadership

Key among the findings are the views of Canadians that the federal government has a significant leadership role in securing the future of public healthcare in Canada. Eighty-three percent of Canadians agreed with this position and another 10 per cent somewhat agreed with the statement. Tracking suggests that the intensity of agreement has increased in 2012.

“As we near the next Council of the Federation, it’s clear that Canadians demand federal leadership on healthcare,” said Michael McBane, the Executive Director at the CHC. “The Harper government has failed in terms of the leadership on healthcare that Canadians expect.”

Elisabeth Ballermann, co-Chair of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) (a member of the CHC), hopes that the poll pushes the federal government to meet with the provinces.

"The 2004 Health Accord expired in March. Since then the federal Conservative government has refused to negotiate a new deal with the provinces" said Ballermann. "What they have offered amounts to a $36 billion cut over 10 years. Canadians value their public medicare system and want their federal government to show some leadership.  It's time for them to meet with the provinces."

Strong majority support public solutions

Research also suggests that 85 per cent of Canadians support (79.6) or somewhat support (5.6) public solutions to strengthen our public health care. “There is a strong political appetite to get the federal government at the table and to find public solutions,” says Michael McBane. “The meeting of the Premiers is a key opportunity to find public solutions as two out of every three Canadians want their Premier to take a strong stand to oppose changes to healthcare funding. The Federal policies are putting the health of Canadians and the strength of the healthcare system at risk.” 

Testing on the healthcare funding regime proposed by the Harper government shows a key disconnect with Canadians. They oppose (68 per cent) or somewhat oppose (15 per cent) an overall reduction in funding to the provinces over time. A clear majority of Canadians oppose (55 percent) or somewhat oppose (16 percent) linking federal funding of healthcare to the economy. Also of note, a majority of Canadians oppose (51 per cent) or somewhat oppose (22 per cent) treating the funding for all provinces the same.

Canadian Health Coalition

The Canadian Health Coalition is a public advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Medicare. It's membership is comprised of national organizations representing nurses, health care workers, seniors, churches, anti-poverty groups, women and trade unions, as well as affiliated coalitions in 9 provinces and one territory. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) are members of the CHC. 

More information:

Canadian Health Coalition


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

Issues and Campaigns: 
Occupational Groups: