Call for national children's health strategy in Canada

Children's Healthcare Canada urges a strategic overhaul to prioritize and improve children's health nationwide

Call for national children's health strategy in Canada

Children's Healthcare Canada is urging the federal government to prioritize children's health and declare it a national priority amidst growing healthcare crises.  

In their latest report, ‘Beyond Bandaids: Delivering Healthcare Fit for Kids,’ the association advocates for the establishment of a National Children's Strategy and the appointment of a chief child health officer. 

This strategy aims to set measurable targets and timelines to improve children's health outcomes, which are lagging behind those of other peer countries.   

Emily Gruenwoldt, president, and CEO of Children's Healthcare Canada, emphasized the urgency of the situation.  

“Health outcomes for children in Canada are worsening year over year. We have a moral and financial imperative to take action to reverse this trend, for our kids, and for our collective future. This is our moment,” she stated.   

According to the report, systemic issues in healthcare are compromising the potential of Canada's youngest generations. The current fragmented and siloed approach fails to address the complex health and social needs of children, youth, and their families effectively.   

Gruenwoldt envisions a future where “children's healthcare systems are accessible, equitable, connected, and purpose-built to meet the needs of children, youth and their families, and the highly specialized workforce that serves them.” 

She calls for unprecedented collaboration among federal, provincial, and territorial governments, healthcare delivery organizations, and children's healthcare advocates to optimize healthcare for the younger population. 

The report also suggests that the federal government should create dedicated funding envelopes for provinces and territories, similar to the bilateral Aging with Dignity agreements signed in 2024 with British Columbia and Saskatchewan.  

These funds would enhance capacity in children's health systems across the continuum of care, including research.   

By fostering strategic partnerships across all levels of government and the health sector, and creating leadership for change, Children's Healthcare Canada believes that the country can move beyond temporary fixes to develop healthcare systems that are truly suited for children.