Advocacy Accomplishments

Asthma Canada works to support advocacy and public policy change which help protect the health, safety and well-being of those with asthma and allergies. We advocate to federal, provincial and municipal governments on a range of health and environmental issues important for people with asthma and respiratory allergies.

Below are some of our past accomplishments.

Ryan’s Law (Ontario)

Working with advocacy partners, MPP Jeff Yurek and Sandra Gibbons, Asthma Canada advocated for the passage of Ryan’s Law in Ontario. This bill, named after Sandra’s son Ryan, who died in 2012 from an asthma attack in school, establishes new policies to ensure children with asthma can attend school safely. The law allows students to carry their asthma medication themselves, regulates asthma training for school staff, requires schools to reduce student’s exposure to asthma triggers and ensure the school has on file an Asthma Action Plan for each child with asthma.

Pets on Planes (Canadian Transportation Agency)

Asthma Canada was an official Intervenor with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) when they heard a complaint about airline policy to allow pets (particularly cats) on-board aircraft in the cabin. Following our submission, the CTA ruled that airlines had an obligation to provide accommodation to passengers with a severe allergy to cats, which was in line with the Asthma Canada’s position.

Elimination of Coal Fired Power Generation

Asthma Canada, along with coalition partners in both Ontario and Alberta, was actively involved in advocacy campaigns to push for the elimination of coal fired electricity generation. These successful campaigns resulted in the closure of the last coal fired power plant in Ontario in 2014 and the announcement of a phase-out of coal power in Alberta by 2030. Asthma Canada is actively working on advocacy campaigns to close the remaining coal plants in Canada located in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia while also asking the Federal government to continue measures which improve air quality through investment in clean, sustainable energy sources and green technologies.

World Asthma Day 2019: Severe Asthma Patient Charter Launch at Queen’s Park

On May 7, 2019, Asthma Canada hosted a breakfast reception at the Ontario Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park in recognition of World Asthma Day. MPP Christine Hogarth sponsored the event. We hosted a number of MPPs and policy makers and had the opportunity to raise awareness among elected officials from all parties about the impact of asthma on our patient population, our health system, and our economy. Our community members shared first-hand experiences of living with asthma and caring for people with asthma and Severe Asthma.

On World Asthma Day at Queen’s Park, Asthma Canada launched our Severe Asthma Patient Charter in Canada containing six principles that define the basic standard of care and best practices for treating this disease. The Charter was developed in collaboration with the Global Asthma and Allergy Patient Platform.

Asthma Canada staff and volunteers were pleased to be introduced in the House during question period, and happy to witness MPP Will Bouma direct a friendly question at Minister of Health Christine Elliott regarding asthma in recognition of World Asthma Day.

This initiative has helped us identify a number of champions, many of whom either live with asthma or have loved ones who do, who we can work with to shape policies for the asthma community in Ontario, and ensure that the health system transformation assumes a patient-centric approach.

Asthma Canada will continue to work with policy makers at all levels and advocate on behalf of people affected by asthma and Severe Asthma.

Equitable Access to Prescription Medications Letter-Writing Campaign

Canada is the only developed country in the world which provides universal healthcare but does not cover the cost of prescribed medications.

Asthma Canada believes that all Canadians living with asthma should have equitable and timely access to prescription medications based on the best possible health outcomes rather than ability to pay.

The economic burden of having to pay for prescriptions out-of-pocket is unsustainable and unfairly targets those who may already be struggling. The asthma community is particularly at risk.

  • Two-thirds of Canadian households have out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs.
  • Approximately one half of all Canadians have no coverage for prescription medication. This includes one third of Canadians employed full time, and three quarters of part time workers.
  • One in four Canadians without insurance coverage has difficulty paying for medications.
  • One in ten Canadians with insurance have difficulty paying for medications.

Many Canadians joined Asthma Canada’s efforts to demand universal coverage of prescription medications by sending letters to their government representatives explaining how a lack of access to prescription medication impacts them and their loved ones.

Thanks to you, our voices are being heard.

We applaud the Federal government’s support for the establishment of the Canadian Drug Agency which will oversee the development of a new national formulary of prescribed drugs and provide additional support for Canadians with rare diseases. We look forward to integrating the perspectives of patients and the health charity sector as we work with the Federal Government to implement these investments.

We would like to thank the asthma community for helping put pharmacare on the map as a political priority. Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences; for writing to your elected representatives through our letter-writing campaign; and for joining Asthma Canada as we went to Parliament Hill and met with countless policy makers to reinforce our demand for equitable access to medication.

As we move ahead, it will be essential to ensure that we, the asthma community and the patient community at large, continue this momentum and continue to speak out and make ourselves heard.

We must ensure that pharmacare becomes a commitment across party lines and remains a key political priority regardless of election outcomes. We invite you to join us as we continue our efforts to ensure that all Canadians have equitable access to prescription medication and that patient choice is included in all pharmacare solutions.

Read the Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

Read more about the Federal budget proposal.

Read The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health report recommending the establishment of a single payer, publicly funded prescription drug coverage program for all Canadians.

We have to speak up to ensure that all Canadians have access to the drugs they need. Please continue to share your stories with your government representatives.

Patient Choice White Paper

Read The Importance of Patient Choice in Inhaled Medication Decision Making

World Asthma Day 2017

On May 2nd 2017, Asthma Canada volunteers and staff were in Ottawa meeting with federal officials in recognition of World Asthma Day. Our group met with numerous Members of Parliament and policy makers, including the Chair of the Health Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, and the Vice-Chair for the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Our advocacy day on Parliament Hill was a great success as we met with new champions and were able to move forward key policy issues impacting the asthma community. As the only national voice solely dedicated to Canadians living with asthma, we are committed to advancing concerns identified by our community.

Our Hill Day focused on two priority areas:

1. Sustainable clean air energy mix
2. Comprehensive drug coverage that addresses gaps in the healthcare system

In addition, MP Rob Oliphant of Don Valley West made an announcement in the House of Commons in recognition of World Asthma Day.