Canadian Healthcare: Challenges and Opportunities
“We are so lucky to live in Canada and have the healthcare system we do. It’s the backbone of our society, something that was underlined for us during this most recent pandemic, and we need to make sure our hospitals and our health-care professionals have the support they need to maintain this wonderful national treasure.”
— Moez Kassam, co-founder of The Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation and Chief Investment Officer for Anson Funds.
Moez Kassam and his wife Marissa Kassam have long recognized how special the Canadian healthcare system is, particularly when contrasted with medical and health insurance systems in other parts of the world.
As business leaders, they also recognize that the Canadian system faces an array of challenges moving forward, from funding shortfalls to the profound demographic shifts that are escalating costs and straining resources.
A recent survey by the international professional services company Accenture outlines the strengths and emerging critical needs of the system. A key finding was that Canadians are satisfied, overall, with the existing system, but also believe there is much room for improvement, especially in regard to access, quality of care and available treatment options.
On the positive side, Accenture believes that chances for improving the system are good, given that it remains a high priority for federal and provincial governments, as well as the industry. In addition, the system is broadly popular with the public, even as many recognize that there are areas in need of reform.
On the other hand, Accenture noted that Canada’s system falls short in a number of important metrics when compared with universal health care coverage in many other advanced industrial democracies.
One issue is access. According to the survey: “One in four (or approximately 26%) Canadians still find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system, whether it’s to identify an adequate entry point into the system, find the right medical facility/treatment or where to go for a specific concern, find available services in the community, etc.”
Canadians are comfortable with the idea that healthcare is a fundamental responsibility of the government. Nevertheless, a majority believe non-covered treatment options such as physiotherapy, nutritionists, naturopaths and private primary care services should be important components of a modern, comprehensive health care system. Many Canadians willingly pay out-of-pocket for these services.
Quality of care is a top concern, according to the survey: “Only 15% of the respondents’ care providers adopt a more proactive approach and are invested in the respondents’ health (either taking interest beyond immediate needs or helping to plan and manage health).”
Based on the survey results, Accenture sees greater collaboration as the way to sustain and improve the health care system. This includes business, government and charitable institutions, all working together to strengthen and broaden medical care. As leaders in both the business and philanthropic sectors, Moez and Marissa Kassam are excited to continue to play a vital role in supporting, advancing and expanding this valuable Canadian right.