The mandate letter was issued on December 16, 2021, to the Canadian Minister of Health, Minister Duclos. In the letter, the Prime Minister opens by explaining how Canadians have adapted to the pandemic issue by staying true to their values and helping one another (“Minister of Health Mandate Letter”). The Prime Minister reaffirms that the Minister’s primary goal will be to deliver results and rebuild a stronger nation for everyone. The Prime Minister also highlights the issue of climate change and human rights affecting Canadians. He urges the Minister to continue to address disparities and inequalities existing in the society and core institutions to make every Canadian feel reflected in the government’s priorities.
Summary of the Minister of Health Mandate Letter
In the letter, the Prime Minister underscores his immediate priority while assuming office to the Minister of health, which is assisting end the COVID-19 pandemic by working closely and collaboratively with territories and provinces. He urges the Minister that working in partnership with territorial government and provinces will strengthen their universal public health care system and general health support to all Canadians. He also asserted that collaboration with those governments would be crucial to ensuring good preparedness of the primary care system for the future as they have access to health system data and improved quality of long-term care.
Commitments of the Health Minister
In the letter, the Prime Minister described the following commitments that the Minister must deliver to realize health objectives and achieve results for Canadians. Firstly, the Minister would be required to continue to offer direction to end the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (“Minister of Health Mandate Letter”). The strategies to realize this objective would include a partnership with indigenous communities, municipalities, colleagues, and territorial governments to roll out COVID-19 vaccines.
It would also be essential to collaborate with colleagues to evaluate border posture continuously to enhance the availability of surge capacity supports and an adequate supply of therapeutics and vaccines to assist Canadian governments. Moreover, by working with all sectors, it would be essential to help in ensuring continuous execution of roles and devotion to community health actions and backup the availability of self and rapid tests. The Minister would also be required to launch a COVID-19 proof of Vaccination Fund, oversee the Public Health Agency of Canada, and work with the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Transport.
Secondly, the Minister would be required to work with the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry to demonstrate governance in population health by reinforcing monitoring and detection of population health risks. The prime Minister also stated that working with this ministry would strengthen medical supply chain security and enhance the Bio-manufacture and Life Science Strategy. Investing in long-term studies of COVID-19 impacts would be beneficial for understanding and protecting vulnerable groups in the community (“Minister of Health Mandate Letter”). Thirdly, the Minister will spearhead the obligation to collaborate with Canadians and raise funds for territories to reinforce the global population health system and guarantee the recruitment and support of healthcare workers across the nation. To achieve an advanced inclusive and patient-centric plan, connecting maximized records and digital systems will involve capitalizing on subsidiary initiatives, hiring new healthcare practitioners, and expanding virtual care and family doctors.
Furthermore, working with the mental health ministry and establishing a permanent Canada Mental Health Transfer will enhance high-quality service delivery and increase free and accessible mental health services. Another priority will be negotiating agreements with territories and provinces to enhance efforts to promote quality health care among seniors and train new personnel support stuffs through the ministry of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion. The Minister will also emphasize reproductive and sexual health services compliance under the Canada Health Act to promote health among women by working with the Minister for Women and Youths.
In the letter, the Prime Minister also asserted that the Minister would be accountable for active engagement with their cabinet and colleagues. As a result, when they deliver their commitments, affiliates of the ministry would need to work collaboratively to assist the cabinet in decision-making. The Prime Minister ends the letter by requesting the Minister of Health to submit a proposed approach to implementing mandate commitments involving priorities for early implementation. In addition, the Prime Minister reaffirms the importance of working closely with parliamentarians, public service, deputy ministers, and Canadians.
Opinion on the Soundness of Priorities
I agree with the soundness of priorities provided in the mandate letter. Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact revealing the under-preparedness of systems, including economic, political, and health, too swift response, and Canada is not an exception (McMahon et al. 113). Health systems have struggled to mobilize, plan quickly, and use resources to deliver effective COVID-19 care while maintaining non-COVID-19 care effectively and efficiently. Therefore, during this pandemic period, prioritizing keeping Canadians safe and healthy is critical. To achieve this is through the mobilization of Canada’s Health Research Community to react to the COVID-19 emergency.
Collaborating with all sectors to provide universal healthcare and working closely with Canadians and ministries effectively fight against the global pandemic. According to McMahon, older adults have been at significant risk for COVID-19 infection, which has resulted in increased mortality and mental health problems among people (120). Because of this, prioritizing addressing mental health problems among seniors is also essential for promoting health among Canadians.
Canada Health Act is important because it makes Canadian healthcare reliable, ensuring that no critical health services are left out. As a result, globally ensured Canadians can benefit from special services, physical checks, and hospital stays. Canada Health Act offers a variety of health care services and supports reproductive and sexual health. Thus, using this act will imply the capability of an individual to control decisions and their destiny. Reproductive health rights are an integral element of an open society for which women enjoy full impartiality. In the ministry of health, reinforcing this act will help protect both the child and mother from contagious diseases by providing complete knowledge regarding post-childbirth care and pregnancy.
Infectious diseases are seen as political and social events which require solutions, responses, and socio-political awareness. To help alleviate the fight against pandemics requires a multifaceted engagement, such as social science involvement. Therefore, based on the priorities outlined, having continued integration of science into a pandemic response will result in the best outcome. Engaging other ministries and continuing the reinforcement of global efforts is also a necessary tool for ensuring Canadians have access to health interventions in response to the pandemic. When the ministry of health collaborates with other sectors, it is likely to increase and accelerate actions to monitor, prevent, and mitigate escalated healthcare threats. It is without question that collaborative efforts to improve health are significant.
As stated in the priorities of the mandate letter, the prime Minister put more emphasis on the Minister of Health to work closely with other ministries and stakeholders to achieve core objectives. Collaborative work is essential for health promotion because it increases the potential for having cost-effective and efficient delivery of care, maximizing facilities and resources, and decreasing the burden on care facilities (McMahon et al. 118). Engaging partners from other sectors helps identify opportunities for collaboration, promote motivation, mediate different interests, and negotiate agendas. The complexity of health determinants makes it challenging for an institution to handle all public health problems, thereby posing the need for intersectoral collaboration.
McMahon, Meghan, et al. “Informing Canada’s Health System Response to COVID-19: Priorities for Health Services and Policy Research.” Healthcare Policy, vol. 16, no. 1, 2020, pp. 112-124.
“Minister of Health Mandate Letter.” Prime Minister of Canada. 2021. Web.