In the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two-thirds of Canadian deaths occurred in long-term care facilities. This experience is a clarion call: if we do not act now, the failings exposed by the pandemic will continue to take their toll on the lives of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.
There have been calls for the federal government to play a stronger role in the long-term care sector, but this is complicated by the fact that this is an area of provincial jurisdiction. Nevertheless, governments could bring new resources and regulatory tools to these challenges by drawing on the untapped possibilities of Canadian federalism.
In this IRPP webinar, Carolyn Tuohy explored her recent research on the role of federalism in the Canadian long-term care system, in which she argues that the most promising path lies in areas of concurrent jurisdiction, namely, old age security and immigration. In these areas both orders of government have an established presence, a history of joint decision-making and action, and the infrastructure that makes this possible. She was joined for the webinar by commentators Daniel Béland and Michel Grignon. The moderator was Paisley Sim.
This was the second in a series of IRPP webinars examining policy options and priorities for Canada’s governments to keep long-term care reform near the top of their post-pandemic agenda. The webinar series is accompanied by “Kick-starting Reform in Long-Term Care,” a feature series of articles published by Policy Options magazine.
Carolyn Tuohy is the author of numerous publications in the areas of health and social policy, professional regulation, and comparative approaches in public policy, and has consulted for government and related agencies on public policy matters. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and was founding fellow of the School of Public Policy and Governance, a precursor of the merged Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
Daniel Béland is director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and James McGill Professor at the Department of Political Science at McGill University. He is currently working on research projects on universal social policy, health care reform, the role of ideas in policy development, and the relationship between fiscal policy and welfare state development.
Michel Grignon is graduate chair of the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University. Through his research he tries to answer questions about how to measure equity, as well as how to measure health itself.
Paisley Sim is the IRPP’s research associate. Prior to joining the IRPP, she worked for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, as special adviser to Alberta’s Minister of Justice, and for Health Canada as a student consultant. She holds a bachelor of fine arts from Concordia University and a master in public policy from McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy.