By Lyn Roberts – Published in the Edmonton Journal: VicHealth was the first health promotion foundation in the world and was established by the Victorian Parliament as a part of the Tobacco Act in 1987. It is a unique model as it has a legislative mandate to promote health in the state of Victoria, Australia.
By Roy Romanow – Published in the Edmonton Journal: Albertans and all Canadians cherish medicare. It’s part of our identity. For our health care system to be effective and sustainable, governments must adapt to the changing needs of the country.
By Jim Gray – Published in the Edmonton Journal: Premier Rachel Notley and her government face a considerable challenge in bending down the cost curve on health care while improving health outcomes. The 2017 provincial budget reflects the severity of this challenge as health-care costs continue to consume a larger portion of government expenditures.
A health coalition representing 130 organizations, institutions and governing bodies is applauding the recommendations of the final report of the Mental Health Review chaired by Dr. David Swann, MLA for Calgary Mountain View. The report contains several recommendations pertaining to the prevention of mental illness in Alberta including increased funding and resources for prevention and health promotion. Wellness Alberta is urging the Notley government to invest more resources in prevention by quickly adopting all of the relevant recommendations in the Swann report.
Today a coalition of over 120 organizations, institutions and governing bodies is launching a new campaign to enlist Albertans in its efforts to secure a provincial Wellness Foundation. The Make Alberta Better campaign is mobilizing thousands of Albertans in to contact their MLAs in support of a significant and protected government investment in chronic disease and injury prevention. Campaign supporters will be urging MLAs to make Alberta better through the creation of a new provincial Wellness Foundation to tackle the enormous burden of chronic disease and injury.
AROUND the world, governments and beverage makers are locked in battle over taxes on sugary drinks. Hungary has been taxing them since 2011. In 2012 the French government introduced a tax on all drinks with added sugar or artificial sweetener, now €0.075 ($0.08) a litre. The Mexican government followed suit last year, with a tax of 1 peso ($0.06) a litre on all sugary drinks. Chile and the city of Berkeley, California introduced similar measures in January; Barbados followed suit in June and Dominica in September.
Calgary oilman and philanthropist Jim Gray deserves credit for drawing attention to the importance of encouraging Albertans to live healthy lives. Gray is chairman of the Wellness Alberta coalition and is calling on the provincial government to create an independent foundation funded annually by $60 million from the public’s coffers.
The auditor general says caring for people with chronic health conditions in Alberta costs the provincial government billions of dollars each year. The auditor general’s report on chronic disease management finds conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are arguably the biggest challenges facing the system.
The recently elected NDP government in Alberta raised eyebrows with its relatively small cabinet of 12 ministers. But that is just a taste of what is to come. Unless Premier Rachel Notley can achieve what PC administrations failed to do and halt the inexorable increase in health-care spending, she will soon have an even smaller cabinet. Just two: the Premier and her minister of health. Spending on health care in Alberta is very high and is increasing quickly.