Every year for the past 24 years, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) publishes the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), a fully-costed proposal to expand the collective imagination of what the federal government can achieve. It covers a range of 26 topics, including public health care, seniors care, and health equity, and outlines alternative and realistic ways we can pay for them.
At a time when our public health care system is under immense stress and strain, the AFB focuses on investments for preventative care, protections against privatization, and addressing the root causes of illnesses in order to strengthen our public healthcare system.
What does this look like?
For Public Health Care,
- Ensure that health care dollars are not spent on private, for-profit clinics which put Canadians at risk of user fees and extra billing
- Provide targeted federal funding to retain nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers.
- Establish a National Care Economy Commission
- Make the Canada Dental Benefit universal by removing income restrictions
- Provide free coverage for prescribed medicines to everyone in Canada by moving forward with the Canada Pharmacare Act
- Establish the Canada Mental Health Transfer at $5.3 billion annually over five years
For Seniors Care,
- Introduce and pass the Safe Long-Term Care Act by 2025 to enforce national standards and ensure patients receive at least four hours of direct care daily.
- Provide funding to promote publicly owned and non-profit long-term care facilities while phasing out for-profit investors.
- Allocate $25 million annually to establish a national agency to co-ordinate funding, workforce, and standards among the three levels of government with responsibility for eldercare services.
- Invest in converting part-time, casual, and temporary positions into full-time roles wherever appropriate, including home care services, to reduce job precarity and retain experienced workers in seniors’ care.
- Invest $5.7 billion to support an additional 82 million hours of home care for the nearly 90,000 Canadians waiting to access these service
Health equity means that all people have fair access to, and can act on, opportunities to reach their full health potential. This means that people are not disadvantaged by social, economic, political, and environmental conditions, including how those conditions intersect with social identities based on factors such as ability, age, gender, race, sexuality, and social status. At the center of the AFB is a public-driven vision of health equity that extends beyond medical and health care, such as:
- Advance progressive, publicly led, equity-oriented policy in all domains of social and ecological determinants of health such as affordable housing, poverty reduction, affordable childcare, decent work, food security, decolonization, racial equality, and more
- Commit $3 million per year to place members of communities most negatively affected by our current extractive and exploitative systems within the federal government to study and make recommendations concerning interdepartmental mechanisms, processes, and activities
- $2 million per year to create and sustain a citizens’ assembly focused on narrative change— to a bold, publicly led and equity-centred vision for an economy and a society that works for everyone
Advance a much more holistic, upstream, and collective version of health, by strengthening and re-orienting key federal legislative and funding mechanisms, for example:
- Commit $5 million in 2024, plus $10 million annually starting in 2025, to fund an independent commission to review and substantially revise the Canada Health Transfer to strongly and explicitly embrace social and ecological determinants of health and align with the social justice values and critical upstream orientation of a health equity stance.
The Alternative Federal Budget by the CCPA expands the collective imagination of what is possible, instilling hope and clear alternatives to the status quo. Read more here: “AFB 2023: Building Momentum - A federal budget for now and the future”