Budget Advances Science & Technology, Little Focus on Health System

    OTTAWA, Feb. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association of Canadian Academic
Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO), the national voice of the Canada's Research
Hospitals - Teaching Hospitals, Academic Regional Health Authorities and their
Research Institutes - welcomes the investments that advance the country's
science and technology agenda. While we recognize the need for fiscal
prudence, the Association regrets that the federal government did not invest
in areas that can improve Canadians' access to health services.
    "Building on Advantage Canada and the federal government's Science and
Technology Strategy, ACAHO supports the series of progressive and strategic
investments (such as through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,
Genome Canada, the Indirect Costs Program, Canada Global Excellence Research
Chairs, the Canada Gairdner International Awards, and SR&ED) that advance
health research, innovation and commercialization", said Dr. Denis Roy,
President of ACAHO and Executive Director of le Centre Hospitalier de
L'Université de Montréal. "These investments are important and will continue
to improve the health of Canadians and our ability to compete in the
knowledge-based economy".
    Investments in Canada's Mental Health Commission and measures to
modernize Canada's safety system for food, consumer and health products are
positive steps; however, Budget 2008 is noticeably silent on the federal
government's role vis-à-vis the health system.
    "Knowing that timely access to health services is one of the most
pressing public policy issues, the federal government did not address the
urgent need for additional health professionals in the system, said Mr. Glenn
Brimacombe, CEO of ACAHO. "While we recognize that the Canada Health Transfer
is growing at 6%, there is a critical role for the federal government -
working closely with the provinces - to invest in areas where it can build
capacity; like training additional providers, building state-of-the-art
facilities, and continuing to invest in Canada Health Infoway".
    Also, ACAHO remains concerned that the federal government did not make
any changes to the Excise Tax Act to increase the GST rebate to 100% for
hospitals, institutions, facilities and agencies. As it stands, the GST
continues to drain federal funding out of the health system to the tune of
$300 million annually.

    Members of ACAHO are leaders of innovative and transformational
organizations that serve a unique and essential role in the system: they
educate the next generation of health care professionals, advance leading edge
innovative practices through health research, and provide much of the
specialized health care services to Canadians.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Beatrice Keleher Raffoul,
Director, Government Relations, (613) 730-5818 ext 323, Cell Phone: (613)
795-4878, Fax: (613) 730-4314, raffoul@acaho.org

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