Melissa Anderson, PT
Any federal election brings with it a number of opportunities for associations, including the chance to get their issues on the national agenda, the impetus to clarify their messages, and the opportunity to inform and mobilize their members. The upcoming election (October 2019) provides CPA with all of these opportunities.
As you might imagine, polling the citizens of Canada is a costly and time-consuming activity, and well outside the scope of CPA. However, we work with a large number of health association within a coalition called HEAL- Organizations for Health Action, which does a lot of the work for us. HEAL has done some research through a polling organization (Abacus Data) and has provided us with some interesting data which we can use when preparing election materials.
Health care is on the minds of Canadians as we head into the 2019 election. In fact, when asked to prioritize a list of goals, 71% chose “Investing and optimizing the health care system to deal with chronic issues and the aging population” as either top or very high priority. Most pressing issues related to health care were wait times, access to affordable medications, and access to affordable homecare and long-term care options.
Health care associations can use this information to help get health on the agenda for the federal election in their conversations with politicians and decision makers. They can also use it to tailor their internal and external messaging to make it resonate. CPA did our own member survey in mid 2018, so we can combine this information with the public polling information we receive through our coalitions to make sure we are focused on issues important to our members, but that will also resonate with the public.
The third, and probably most important, opportunity that comes with a federal election is the ability to mobilize our members. CPA is working to produce materials to assist our members navigate the federal election. We will review the political platforms and highlight areas that could impact the health of Canadians. We realize that our most important resource is our membership, and understand how powerful our voice can be if we have all of our members speaking the same message to politicians when they knock on our doors this fall.
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