July 13, 2020

The CPA participated in the recent study of the Canadian response to the outbreak of the coronavirus undertaken by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. We submitted this policy brief to the committee, outlining the core recommendations from the CPA on how to strengthen the health system in response to COVID-19.

In the brief, we advance recommendations to improve health infrastructure and access to physiotherapy and to support the health of Canada’s disproportionately impacted populations, including Indigenous Peoples and older adults. To meet current and future health needs identified and magnified by COVID-19, the brief calls for additional investments in:

  • community and home care services to build healthy, age-friendly communities for the future;
  • technology and infrastructure needed to ensure access to the internet and electronic health technologies in rural, remote, and northern communities;
  • programs to support delivery of virtual services/tele-rehabilitation;
  • equitable access to personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safely deliver care in all health care settings;
  • supports to offset costs associated with newly imposed infection control measures, including necessary reconfiguration of treatment spaces to ensure infection prevention measures can be established and maintained; and
  • supporting Canadians in staying active safely during the ongoing pandemic.

The brief also calls on the federal government to permanently remove the requirement for a prescription for physiotherapy services under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) – the extended health benefits program for federal employees which has more than 600,000 plan members across Canada. The need for a prescription for physiotherapy under the PSHCP was temporarily removed in March due to the pandemic and, since then, the CPA has advocated for this change to be made permanent in meetings with MPs, minister’s office policy advisors, and in letters to the President of the Treasury Board.