Guiding Principles

The members of the Health Action Lobby are committed to sustaining and enhancing the health of Canadians, and in the continuous improvement of fair, equitable, efficient and effective health services and system(s). As active participants in the development and implementation of our health system(s) we commit to these guiding principles for health and health care in Canada.

All Canadians value health and health care. Health is broader than the provision of health care, embracing health promotion, disease prevention and economic and social policy underlying determinants of health and healthy communities. Access to quality health care, irrespective of ability-to-pay, is a basic Canadian value. Sustaining the national character of health services requires adherence to a common set of principles. Finite public resources are available to support the health of Canadians and fund a national health insurance system.

Health Goals

  • Measurable national, provincial and territorial health goals are required to allocate public resources across the continuum of health care in a responsible and cost-effective manner.
  • Shared Responsibility and Accountability for Safeguarding the Principles of the Canada Health Act

Federal, provincial and territorial governments share responsibility and accountability for safeguarding the five basic principles underlying an interlocking set of provincially / territorially administered health insurance programs. These principles are:

  • Portability of benefits
  • Universality of population coverage
  • Access to required services
  • Comprehensive benefits
  • Public (non-profit) administration
  • Sustainable & Reliable Funding
  • Sustainable and reliable funding is necessary for the provision of quality health services, effective health planning, research, innovation and evaluation.

Continuum of Care
Changing health needs of individuals and society require a broad range of community and facilities-based services. An integrated continuum of care, providing access to a range of preventive, supportive, curative, chronic and palliative services, should be the model for Canada’s health system(s). Administrative and financial arrangements should be designed accordingly.

Consumer Participation in Health Care Decision-Making
Health care consumers are partners in health care. As partners, they are involved in decision-making concerning their care, and are jointly responsible with health care providers for health promotion and prevention. It is imperative that health consumers share in policy planning and evaluation, self-help and mutual aid.

Individual Rights
While the foundation of our public health system is structured on the basis of community responsibility, individual rights and participation must be protected and promoted.

Research and Continuous Improvement
Public policy must support the allocation of sufficient resources to ensure a vibrant health research community across Canada. Further support from health professions and education and research institutions is required to transform research discoveries into professional practice for the benefit of all Canadians.

Collaboration and Cooperation
Interdisciplinary, intersectoral, and intergovernmental collaboration and cooperation is required to address the policy issues affecting health and health care at all levels.

Efficient and Effective Management
Financial and human resources must be managed efficiently and effectively to ensure optimal outcomes and long-term availability of health and health care resources to all Canadians.

Work Environment
In order to take full advantage of the skills and competencies of Canada’s health professionals we must look for ways to improve the work environment. A safe and satisfactory work environment improves overall job satisfaction, delivery of quality health services and consumer satisfaction.

Professional Self-Regulation and Licensure
Public accountability and transparency is effectively discharged through rigorous self-regulation by health professionals. Public participation in self-regulation is valued by health professionals.

Environmental Impact
The health of Canadians is dependent upon the health of our natural environment. Health care organizations and practitioners must act as stewards and seek at all times to lessen the impact of health services on the environment.

Voluntarism and community involvement are important components of public policy and healthy communities. Continued support for self-help and mutual aid efforts is essential.