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Results: 1 - 15 of 19
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the clarification.
Minister, as you know, Brampton is a hot-spot zone for COVID-19. The region is home to so many essential workers who live in multi-generational homes. With a positivity rate of 22%, Peel needs support. Unfortunately, the province did not direct sufficient resources to Peel early enough.
Minister, what support has the federal government already provided directly to Peel?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and colleagues.
It's my pleasure to speak today on my private member's bill, Bill C-237, an act to establish a national framework for diabetes.
Before I begin, I want to thank all members immensely for your support of this initiative at second reading. I'm glad to know we share the goal of fighting diabetes.
This year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and his partners at the University of Toronto. It was also at U of T that stem cells were discovered in the 1960s. These have led to promising research that may lead to a cure.
Since Canada has been home to these great inventions in the fight against diabetes, we should also have a comprehensive strategy to help those living with this disease.
We have 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. The number of diagnoses doubled in the last 20 years, and every three minutes, another Canadian is added to this list. In my own community of Brampton, almost every sixth resident lives with diabetes or prediabetes.
In my 18-year career as a health care professional, I saw patients with cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, amputations or high blood pressure and diabetes was frequently an underlying and complicating condition. That is why a strategy is so important. By effectively fighting or preventing one disease, we will make an impact on many others.
When you consider the expense to the public health care system and to individuals living with diabetes, it represents a massive financial burden. Every dollar spent fighting and preventing diabetes means greater savings down the line.
It is one of the most common chronic illnesses in Canada and the rate is only growing. Some Canadians are at increased risk of diabetes, such as South Asians, Black and indigenous Canadians. We also know that diabetes disproportionately affects Canadians with low income and education. Diabetes rates are three to four times higher among first nations than among the general Canadian population. Furthermore, indigenous individuals are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a younger age than other individuals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Canadians with chronic diseases, including diabetes.
For all these reasons, we need a cohesive national plan to respond to diabetes, one that coordinates funding for awareness, prevention, research and treatment, and that ensures equal access to treatment across Canada.
Mr. Chair, we can learn from Canada's past diabetes plans and programs, and we can make sure that the framework called for in Bill C-237 is data-driven, accountable and engaged with stakeholders such as Diabetes Canada, JDRF and others.
A national framework for diabetes would provide a common direction for all stakeholders to address diabetes, and by extension, other chronic diseases with the same risk factors. It would enhance coordinated efforts across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions and provide a mechanism for tracking and reporting on progress.
The framework would allow for the identification of gaps in present approaches, strengthen action to address health inequities in diabetes and decrease the duplication of efforts by coordinating across jurisdictions.
The bill calls for promoting research, data collection and treatment. It would offer an opportunity for indigenous people and organizations to engage in federal, provincial and territorial strategies using a distinctions-based approach.
It would make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians. Back in April 2019, this committee conducted a study and released a report on this very issue.
Mr. Chair and Mr. Davies, you were both part of the committee at that time. The comprehensive report already outlines the steps the government should take in the fight against diabetes.
The number one recommendation in this report was that the Government of Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories and in collaboration with stakeholders, plan and implement an approach for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada through a national diabetes strategy. Bill C-237 mandates the minister to do just this.
The HESA report made 10 other recommendations. Among them were that the government explore options to reduce diabetes-related stigma and improve public awareness and education on diabetes; provide funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research into preventing and treating diabetes; hold discussions with the provinces and territories to explore possible approaches to providing uniform coverage for diabetes-related medication, supplies and equipment across Canada; work with the provinces and territories to explore possible approaches to improving access to health care for individuals living with diabetes in rural, remote and northern communities and address the difficulties faced by many Canadians in accessing a family physician; and work with the provincial regulatory bodies to ensure that health care professionals receive comprehensive education and training to properly identify and manage diabetes and diabetes-related complications in their patients.
I believe that with more coordination among all levels of government and stakeholders, we will be a better position to win the fight against diabetes. I know that the government will give full consideration to the HESA report and the dozens of witnesses who shared their expertise and experiences to help shape the recommendations. For example, I personally think the Diabetes Canada 360° proposal is an excellent one.
This past November I went to Banting House in London, Ontario, where the Flame of Hope, a perpetually burning torch that serves to honour all who have been affected by diabetes, is located. It is a reminder that we must still work for a real cure. It will only be extinguished when one is discovered.
The discovery of insulin is remembered as one of the greatest medical achievements of the 20th century. It was the first time the Nobel Prize for medicine went to someone outside Europe. It went to Canada. The best thing we can do as a country to honour this discovery is to recommit to helping everyone battling this chronic disease, whether they are patients, doctors, researchers or loved ones.
Mr. Chair and fellow committee members, Canadians have always been leaders in the fight against diabetes. I want to thank you all again for the support you have shown for this bill, which I hope will eventually lead to the day when we can extinguish that torch at Banting House. Canada gave insulin to the world. Why can we not lead the way?
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Van Bynen. It's a great question. Thank you for your support all the way.
You're right. We need to consult with the indigenous stakeholders as well because, as you know, on reserve and in indigenous populations there are higher rates than with any others. We need to consult with indigenous stakeholders, provinces and territories. The government needs to consult with the stakeholders such as Diabetes Canada and JDRF and listen to the proposals.
Ms. Hanson mentioned diabetes 360°, which we all supported in the HESA committee. It has very good aspects and I hope it can address many indigenous concerns as well.
There have been consultations on subjects that help those with diabetes. For other aspects, like Canada's food guide, there has not been a national holistic consultation called for, and that is why my bill calls for that. It would bring together both levels of government, indigenous partners and other stakeholders with the common goal of creating a national diabetes strategy, which I'm asking for in my bill, Bill C-237.
It's also to address Canadians of all different ages and demographics, and will be sensitive to cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, too.
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to all the witnesses for appearing today. It's great to see Minister Hajdu again at our committee.
Today is a good day for Canada. Earlier today, the Prime Minister announced that from March 22 to May 10, Canada would be receiving one million doses of Pfizer vaccine every single week. This is good news for Canada's vaccination efforts.
Minister, as you know, Grace Manor long-term care home in my riding of Brampton South was one of the earliest-hit residences. The armed forces were called in. I understand that these facilities fall under provincial jurisdiction, but the federal government has also stepped up to keep those living and working in long-term care homes safe.
Can you tell me more about the support we have given to provinces and territories regarding long-term care?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
The next question is for General Fortin.
We now have four vaccines in Canada, each requiring a different logistical infrastructure. Can you please update this committee on how you are working with the provinces and territories, and especially indigenous communities, on the logistics?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
General Fortin, is it correct to say that the federal government distributes vaccines to provinces per capita and that the provinces are responsible for local vaccine distribution, including through online booking portals?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
General Fortin, how many vaccine doses have been distributed to the Province of Ontario? How many have been administered by the province? How many are presently in the fridges?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, General Fortin.
Can I ask my other questions? He can come back to that question.
General Fortin, the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved this morning. This week, Canada received the largest number of doses of the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines so far.
Are you confident that provinces will be able to increase their delivery capacity to keep up to the supply coming in? Do you have any concerns? How are you preparing for the influx of vaccines?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Would you be able to comment on the vaccination work in remote northern and indigenous communities in Canada?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
The next question is for Mr. Stewart.
You said that NACI is giving recommendations about vaccine prioritization. How will we see if there is a difference among provinces? How can you explain the difference among provinces? At the end of the day, the province has to decide which demographic will be vaccinated first. Can you explain that?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Minister.
Minister, some provinces have their own pay equity system. In Manitoba and the Maritimes, they cover the public sector. In Ontario and Quebec, they cover the public and private sectors.
Would you be able to comment on the lessons learned from the rollout in these provinces that explain why we would not want to rush this legislation?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Dr. Sharma, the federal government provided almost 23 million rapid tests to support provincial and territorial partners. There are millions currently collecting dust at provincial facilities. What do you think should be improved to make sure these procured tests are used by our provinces and territories?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Before I begin, I need to highlight one important point for all Canadians. The minister and officials are working hard to fight this battle against the pandemic, but they represent hundreds if not thousands of public servants, military personnel and volunteers. I hope I speak on behalf of all members in thanking all these public servants.
My first question is for Major-General Fortin. My community of Brampton has been hit hard by the pandemic and was one of the first to receive the vaccine, one of the very few to get it before Christmas, but also one of many across the country....
General, can you tell us what has been learned from the logistics of these early deliveries and the dry runs?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for all the great work you're doing.
Can you table those testimonials for us and send them to us?
Many of the government services that people interact with on a day-to-day basis are provincially and locally run, like schools, health care services and social services. Considering that most provinces and territories have a ministry for the status of women, can you speak to any collaboration between your department and your provincial counterparts? Can you highlight some examples of how the federal government has stepped up to provide direct support, for example, to schools, social services and any others?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to all the witnesses for being here.
As a member of the committee, I know this year marks the 50th anniversary of the report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, an important milestone to remind us what has been accomplished since then and the work that remains to advance gender equality. We often take for granted how far we have to come, and the report expressly states that expanding child care is crucial.
I'm from Brampton, and in my riding alone, 24,000 children receive the Canada child benefit. We know we need to do more, and when I'm speaking with my residents, they know that. When 24,000 children come out of poverty with the Canada child benefit, it's a big help.
What role would the federal government have in how things work in the provinces and territories so families can find good-quality services? Day cares are not open because parents are afraid of COVID-19. How can the federal government play a role?
My question is for Ms. Mrozek. Can you explain that to me?
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