Are we doing enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health
Canadian Paediatric Society.
Every two years the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) releases a status report on government policy around children’s health and well-being. The report has identified key indicators relating to:
- Disease prevention
- Health promotion
- Injury prevention
- Best interests of children and youth.
In 2012, the CPS pointed to some improvements – particularly the development of anti-poverty and mental health strategies in some provinces – but concluded overall that “Canada’s children and youth may be losing ground on the public policy front.”
Looking at the best interests of the child, CPS reported with concern that Canada is one of a very small number of rich countries where the child poverty rate outstrips overall rates of poverty, and recommended that ending child poverty should receive the same emphasis as economic growth. They recommended that provincial and territorial governments implement ‘Jordan’s principle’ and ensure First Nations or Inuit children’s health care needs are not put on hold while governments squabble about which level of government should pay for services.
They emphasized the potential significance of federal leadership through creation of national public health and health education programs, and in implementing a national childcare strategy with an integrated system of services that are universal and publicly funded. They recommended creation of a national Commissioner for Children and Youth to consider the needs of children and youth in all policies and initiatives that affect them.