Government 101

Who takes care of health?


Before engaging the government, it is important to understand how the different levels of government work and what their focus or mandate is. This will help you decide who to target in your personal advocacy efforts. Health care is a shared responsibility between the Federal Government - through Health Canada - and the provincial and territorial partners.

Federal Government

Health Canada’s role is to:

  • Enhance and safeguard the health of Canadians
  • Provide national leadership to develop health policy, enforce health regulations, promote disease prevention and enhance healthy living for all Canadians
  • Ensure health services are available and accessible to First Nation and Inuit communities
  • Work closely with other federal departments, agencies and stakeholders to reduce health and safety risks to Canadians

Health Canada is responsible for:

  • New drug approvals and regulations
  • Overall cancer strategy
  • Transfer payments to provincial governments
  • Health promotion and prevention programs
  • Research
  • Public Health Agency of Canada

In collaboration with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is responsible for:

  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Infectious and chronic disease prevention and control
  • Injury prevention
  • Health promotion

Statistics Canada:

  • Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and each provincial or territorial government work with the Canadian Cancer Registry, an arm of Statistics Canada.
  • The registry is an administrative survey that collects information on cancer incidence in Canada. It is a collaborative effort between the thirteen Canadian provincial and territorial cancer registries and the Health Statistics Division of Statistics Canada, where the data are housed.

Learn more about Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
To contact Health Canada, or the Minister of Health, click here.

Provincial and Territorial Governments

  • Work in partnership with Health Canada to maintain a high-quality, affordable health care system
  • Work together to test ways in which the Canadian health care system can be improved and to ensure it is sustainable
  • Share the cost of health care and hospital services through the annual Canada Health and Social Transfer
  • The Ministry of Health* in each of the provincial and territorial governments are responsible for:
    • Delivery of health care services
    • Running hospitals and cancer agencies
    • Health promotion, prevention and diagnostic programs, including screening programs
    • Drug formularies

* In each province or territory across Canada the official name of the department may vary. Refer to the contact information list for the proper title in your province. 

Who’s Who in Government

There are many key players in government that can help you raise your issues:

  • Elected officials
  • Political staff
  • Civil servants / bureaucracy
  • Appointees to agencies, boards and commissions
  • The opposition

Who to target:

  • Understand which level of government (federal or provincial) is making decisions on the particular issue you would like to address.
  • Be sure that there is either a local or personal connection when contacting a MP or MLA/MPP/MNA.
  • Government officials are always changing. Get to know bureaucrats, representatives of other ministries, and members of the opposition since one day they may be the ones in power and controlling or influencing the issues related to brain tumours in the future.

     

 

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