History and Future

Women and Health Care Reform was established as a Working Group funded by the Women’s Health Contribution Program of Health Canada in 1998. Our mandate is to coordinate research and knowledge exchange on women and health care reform issues with policy makers, researchers, health care providers, and women in the community.

Over the past decade, we have observed and analyzed reforms within the Canadian health care system at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. As part of a federally-funded program, we have paid particular attention to aspects of reform that are of national concern, but because health care is primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility in Canada, we also attend to issues and concerns at those levels of government.

Since our inception, we have examined numerous aspects of health care reform, including: privatization; home care; primary health care; quality of health care; maternity care; ancillary health care work; wait times; private health insurance; and long-term care. Across them all, we have asked ourselves:

  • How is this a women’s issue and what are the issues for women?
  • Which women are affected by this reform?

We recognize that women have connections to the health care system as users of the system themselves or on behalf of others; as decision makers; and as paid and unpaid providers.

We produce research reports, occasional papers, popular pieces, and books. We hold workshops that bring together policy makers, researchers, and providers of care—paid and unpaid—to discuss the topic from all angles. We respond to policy as it arises, and sometimes push for conversations to happen. We are a resource to other researchers as well as to policy makers, and we hope that our materials are of use to a wide range of audiences.

Health care reform continues to challenge our decision makers and ourselves as citizens, family members, and care providers. Being informed about what is happening and understanding the particular implications for women remains as important today as when we were founded.

Looking ahead, we see new issues on the horizon such as:

  • How is the health care system is galvanizing to respond to emergencies such as the SARS epidemic or avian flu?
  • How is the health care system responding to the rise of chronic disease across the country?
  • Is our mental health care system meeting the needs of women and girls?
  • How are the health care systems engaging with the environmental issues that are of ever-increasing concern to Canadians?

Check back regularly for information on these topics and more!

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