The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Dear Minister Petitpas Taylor,
On behalf of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), I would like to extend our sincere congratulations on your recent appointment as Minister of Health.
This letter of welcome has special significance to the social work community. As a Bachelor of Social Work and former Registered Social Worker with our Partner Organization, the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers (NBASW), your appointment inspires tremendous pride in our profession, and signals your government’s commitment to the social determinants of health and the experiences of vulnerable and underserved communities.
CASW proudly notes your history of providing crisis counselling and domestic violence interventions to victims of crime, and your work on the causes of Suicide Prevention, Pay Equity, and intimate partner violence. As a social worker with this breadth of experience, you understand the impacts of the social determinants of health and the importance of equity in the everyday lives of Canadians.
CASW has been very supportive of your government’s commitment to return to cooperative federalism, especially as it pertains to the delivery of equitable health and social services across Canada. From our perspective, returning national leadership to our federation is paramount if Canada is to reduce the equality gap and comprehensively address social, economic and health equity.
CASW proposes that your government consider a new Social Care Act for Canada, to help guide the Canada Social Transfer and investments in social infrastructure that address the social determinants of health. Like the Canada Health Act, CASW proposes that a Social Care Act be grounded in 10 principles that would not impose restrictions or regulations on the provinces and territories, but rather act as a social policy lens or framework to support the delivery of equitable services to all populations across Canada.
As an additional piece, CASW believes that the exploration of a basic income would be a key piece in eliminating poverty in Canada. By providing an up-front investment in people, a basic income has the potential to provide huge long term cost savings in the areas of not only health care, but also in social services and corrections.
The Canadian health care system stands to save significantly by adopting these bold vision to address the social determinants of health as the best research available clearly demonstrates that health, social and economic outcomes are inextricably linked.
Finally, specific to our profession, you will already know that March is designated as National Social Work Month – a time for social workers gather to celebrate the profession and focus our advocacy efforts in support of real social change. In this regard, please accept this letter as a request to meet, preferably in March, however at your convenience, to further discuss our shared priorities in building a healthier and more equitable Canada.
Again, on behalf of the CASW federation, I extend our sincere congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Health. CASW is certain you will carry your social work passion and values forward, and we commit to working with you in your new role.
Jan Christianson-Wood, MSW, RSW
cc. CASW Federation