May 19, 2020

The CPA continues to engage with decision-makers in the insurance sector, the federal government, and with other stakeholder groups to ensure physiotherapy is considered and represented as efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis continue.

At the outset of the pandemic, the CPA pivoted to develop an advocacy strategy to guide our interactions with decision-makers with the goal of ensuring that physiotherapy is well-positioned throughout the immediate response phase of the COVID-19 outbreak and as we prepare for and anticipate the needs of the profession in the recovery and return to service phases. The strategy has, at its core, the belief that timely access to physiotherapy in all health care settings supports and safeguards capacity in the health care system, and that physiotherapy plays a key role in supporting the health of Canadians. It also acknowledges the CPA’s role in working to strengthen the profession of physiotherapy.

Since decision-making on the pursued key issues is not centralized with any one individual, advocacy activity is underway on several fronts, including the following recent actions:

  • Meetings with MPs: The CPA is working to schedule meetings with several MPs to provide an overview of the CPA’s main advocacy issues related to COVID-19 – this includes meetings with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and the opposition health critics, as well as several key MPs on the Finance Committee.
  • Meeting Materials: The CPA is developing evidence-based briefing materials and a fact sheet on physiotherapy to support our meetings with federal government officials.
  • House of Commons Standing Committee on Health: The CPA has requested to appear as a witness during the Health Committee’s study of Canada’s response to the outbreak of the coronavirus and has reached out to 12 MPs on the committee to support that request.
  • Drafting a Written Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health: The CPA is writing a brief to submit to the committee which provides an overview of physiotherapy’s key concerns regarding the response to COVID-19 and recommendations for how federal decision-makers can strengthen access to physiotherapy services (tele-rehabilitation, personal protective equipment, supporting direct access) and to provide support for vulnerable populations most severely impacted by COVID-19. We are engaging with subject matter experts across the profession to inform this work.
  • House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance: The CPA has requested to appear as a witness during the Finance Committee’s study of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has reached out to MPs on the committee to support that request.
  • Engagement with Ministers’ Offices: The CPA has engaged with policy analysts in the offices of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Small Business, International Trade, and Export Promotion Offices to follow-up on concerns around the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
  • PPE: On May 8, the CPA sent a letter to the Minister of Health and Chief Public Health Officer to emphasize the need for governments to take steps to ensure physiotherapists working in all settings have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) required to safely provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also provided background to policy analysts in the minister’s office to ensure their awareness that access to PPE is one of the most frequent issues being raised by members. Working with the provincial Branches and the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, the CPA has compiled a listing of provincial/territorial recommendations and guidelines on PPE and clinic reopening for members. The CPA also developed resources for a provincial branch to adapt/use with their government to advocate for greater access to PPE.
  • Organization for Health Action (HEAL): Through HEAL, the CPA met with policy analysts in the office of the Minister of Health, The Honourable Patty Hajdu, and discussed the following concerns: telehealth, access to PPE, impact of COVID-19 on mental health of health care professionals, implications of return to work on health care professionals, research support, impact of COVID-19 on seniors/LTC, and considerations around reopening the US/Canada border. The CPA will be meeting with Minister Hajdu through HEAL on May 21.
  • Extended Health Providers Coalition (EHPC): Through EHPC, the CPA is working with other health care professional associations to engage insurance industry stakeholders on coverage of services and access to extended health benefits throughout the COVID-19 crisis/response. There are also joint efforts to engage governments on the issue of access to PPE.
  • Improving Communications with Carriers/Insurers Around Claims: The CPA met with representatives from Sun Life to discuss current notification practices on notifications and other communications associated with claims adjudication, investigations, and delisting. This meeting is part of a long-term initiative to work with insurance industry stakeholders to ensure clear guidance for listing physiotherapy providers and services is provided and maintained. The CPA is seeking the opportunity to meet with a committee of the Canadian Life Health Insurance Association on these issues.

The CPA will continue to work to advance the key issues and concerns that physiotherapy is facing as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through these and other channels in the coming weeks. We’ll continue to monitor the response from government and other decision-makers and provide updates as they are available.