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Budget 2018: Focus on Gender - Positive for Women

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) is voicing its support for Budget 2018 and its vision for women, science and research, indigenous peoples and potential changes to the pharmacare system in Canada. The SOGC is a leading authority on women’s reproductive health care, whose mission is to promote excellence in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology through leadership, advocacy, collaboration, and education.

We were encouraged to read that Budget 2018 encompasses plans to advance gender equality world-wide that will include health programming including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights; the empowerment of women and girls; supporting local women’s organizations to defend women’s rights and address barriers; increasing women’s economic participation and increasing help for vulnerable refugee women and girls.

Science and research is a major focus for the SOGC and for this reason we applaud the government’s decision to increase funding in this area to record amounts. Physical and life sciences, social science and health will all be advanced by this opportunity and researchers will have cutting edge equipment to forge forward. Big data will be one of those tools with funding for a Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy and equipment to enable researchers to discover new innovations. Investment in Canada’s Research Chairs will aim to increase the number of women nominated for the positions.

The SOGC strongly supports the government’s goals to improve the quality of life for indigenous populations. Health programs and services will be developed and delivered by First Nations, funds will be contributed to fight against high rates of tuberculosis and for the building of a new hospital in James Bay. Child care initiatives and access to skills development will ensure that indigenous women will have equal access to job opportunities; First Nations will be supported in the development of their own matrimonial real property laws and women and children living on reserve will have access to legal protection from family violence.

There are many additional important aspects to this budget, including plans to address the opioid crisis and public education on the risks of cannabis use. 

We are pleased that discussions on a pharmacare program are beginning and encourage consultations to include health care organizations and physicians. Too many women are without sufficient health care coverage and a national pharmacare program may allow all women to access treatment more easily.