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Health and Community Services
November 25, 2011

P/T Health and Wellness Ministers Work Together to Advance Solutions

Provincial and Territorial Health and Wellness Ministers are working to ensure better health, better care and better value for Canadians.

The ministers renewed their commitment to focusing on common issues affecting provinces and territories, including accelerating innovation to improve care for patients and families and promoting healthy living.

“Provinces and territories are dedicated to preserving and enhancing public health care services. We identified key pressures and trends as well as opportunities to collaborate. We are steadfast in our commitment to promote healthy living among Canadians as a means to prevent illness,’’ said the Honourable Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness, Government of Nova Scotia.

Participating provinces and territories remain fully resolved and committed to a pan-Canadian approach to the negotiation of fair prices for drug listings. Ministers believe that in working together, they will ensure they will get the right drugs to Canadians who need them, at the best price possible.

A strong federal commitment and meaningful collaboration with provinces and territories, except Quebec, is important in order to significantly reduce childhood obesity and sodium consumption in Canada. Provincial and Territorial Health and Wellness Ministers have committed to helping Canadians make healthy choices to avoid and reduce obesity and hypertension as well as other conditions associated with a high sodium diet. They endorsed two reports focused on increasing access and availability of healthy foods, decreasing marketing of unhealthy foods to children, reducing sodium in the food supply, raising awareness and monitoring progress and committed to the development of meaningful reporting mechanism. Ministers also recognized the leadership role that the federal government has in this debate as well as their part in addressing these complex issues. Ministers look forward to further collaboration and ask the Government of Canada to champion a healthy living agenda for Canadians.

While Quebec shares the general goals of sodium reduction and healthy weights, it does not subscribe to a Canada wide strategy in these areas. Quebec intends to remain solely responsible for developing and implementing programs for promoting healthy living within its territory. However, Quebec does intend to continue exchanging information and best practices with other governments in Canada.

Ministers also discussed the importance of addressing mental health, an issue that touches all families and the need to integrate services across government departments and agencies to improve mental wellness and illness prevention. Manitoba Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau confirmed that the national Mental Health Summit will be held in February 15-16, 2012 and looks forward to welcoming colleagues from all provinces and territories to work together on improving mental health.

Provincial and Territorial ministers discussed the importance of the 2004 health accord and how it supported making significant improvements to health care that have resulted from federal-provincial-territorial partnerships. Ministers agreed that continued stable, predictable funding is crucial to supporting better care and outcomes for patients, families and communities across the country.

They look forward to discussions with their federal health care colleagues on Friday.

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Media contacts:

Jennifer Tulk
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 699-6524
Sherri Aikenhead
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Wellness
Government of Nova Scotia

2011 11 25             10:15 a.m.

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