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January 2009

AFMC's Response to the 2009 Budget

January 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa – The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) is pleased with several measures contained in the 2009 Federal Budget. The commitments to spend $2 Billion on infrastructure for our national post-secondary educational institutions, $500 Million through Canada Health Infoway to encourage Canada’s much-needed transition to electronic health records, and $750 Million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to improve Canada’s research infrastructure are all positive steps. AFMC was also reassured to see long overdue investments made in this budget to improve the health status of Indigenous populations in Canada.

AFMC is concerned, however, that the budget does not do enough to ensure that Canada emerges from our current fiscal challenges in a global leadership position in science and technology, and research and development – the engine of the economy of tomorrow.

“Budget 2009 missed an important opportunity to signal that Canada is committed to dealing with the current economic crisis, but is equally committed to ensuring a prosperous future for science and technology, particularly in the health and biomedical sector. While important measures were put into place to deal with Canada’s immediate needs, it stopped short of making significant investments to ensure that Canada continues to develop and retain world-class talent in research and development in the health and biomedical sciences. Infrastructure investments, without similar investments in human resources will not be optimized,” said Dr. Nick Busing, President and CEO of the association.

The budget was also silent on the pressing issue of health human resources. AFMC reiterates its position that while health is a provincial issue, there is a critical role for the federal government to play in ensuring that all Canadians have access to the care they need. “We see an opportunity for the government to think outside the box on the issue of health human resources,” said Dr. Busing. “For a very modest investment, the federal government could take a real leadership role in collecting and analyzing data pertaining to the current and future needs of Canada in terms of health human resources.”

AFMC looks forward to working with the government of Canada to address these and other issues in order to secure the health and well-being of Canadians and the Canadian economy.

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For more information, please contact:
Irving Gold
Vice President, Government Relations and External Affairs
The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada
(613) 730 0687 x236
igold@afmc.ca