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Policy Briefing: Health Policy Briefing
Minster of Health Patty Hajdu, centre, pictured Dec. 8, 2020, on the Hill. Lessons from the pandemic point to two structural issues that are well within the federal government’s capacity to address: Canada’s system of long-term care and challenges within the health-care talent pipeline. The current environment opens a window to fresh policy action and a renewed federal/provincial partnership on health care. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Window of opportunity for feds to address health-care deficits

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to something more.
Nurses are underappreciated and underrepresented. They have a wide variety of skills that make them an essential part of the health-care system. We need nurses to be at the decision-making table. We need to give a voice to those driven young nurses who will be our leaders come the next pandemic.
We cannot simply go back to normal after the pandemic. Instead, we must strive to reconfigure the system to address existing inequities families face that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our children's future is at stake.
Here in Atlantic Canada we have been successful in mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 because, for the most part, we have approached health guidelines and restrictions as an opportunity to care for one another, versus an infringement on individual rights.
The experience of Connaught Labs offers lessons for Canada's new Sanofi deal to manufacture vaccines in Canada, and it doesn't appear the government has learned much from it.
Opinion|David Farrar
Universities are uniquely positioned to steer us out of the COVID-19 crisis and the next pandemic.
Opinion|Ramy Elitzur
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout campaign illustrates how the government reverted to bounded rationality in its decision-making throughout the crisis, being reactive instead of being proactive. As a result, at the time this is written, Canada ranks 42nd in the world in vaccination rate.
A new approach to health-care governance and an increased focus on the social determinants of health are two crucial and key lessons, experts say, to learn from this pandemic and to prepare for the next one.
Attention and accountability are urgently needed to address the shortcomings highlighted in the auditor general's report.
Mental health is not simply about feeling good all the time. It is about learning how to traverse the existential challenges we face, by supporting each other and by having our federal government invest in improving access to and quality of health care, and addressing the social determinants of health, especially for those whose lives are most precarious.

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