Are governments doing enough to protect kids? No. Canada can do better
Jan 10 2012
OTTAWA—Canada’s provincial and territorial governments could be doing more to protect and promote the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth, according to a report released today by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS).
The fourth edition of Are We Doing Enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health examines how effectively governments use legislation and programming in areas such as injury prevention, disease prevention and health promotion. It also assesses the federal government in key areas.
“Since we last published our report in 2009, there have been too few improvements across all provinces and territories. In fact, Canadian children and youth may be losing ground when it comes to public policy,” said Dr. Andrew Lynk, CPS Vice-President and Chair of the Action Committee for Children and Teens. “There continues to be a piecemeal approach to keeping children and youth healthy and safe in Canada―and it’s putting kids at risk.”
As government attention turns to the economy, there is mounting evidence to show that investing early in child health and development is a strong driver of economic growth and helps to ensure a fiscally healthy nation.
“Canada lags far behind most wealthy western nations and is ranked last in terms of support for family policy and early child development,” said Dr. Jean-Yves Frappier, CPS President. “Government-led health promotion strategies have proven protective and preventive powers—to save lives, and to prevent injury, disability and disease. The CPS strongly encourages all levels of government to take action on the recommendations in this report.”
The interval between reports allows time for policy changes to take place, and in some areas improvements have been made. Provinces and territories continue to strengthen anti-smoking laws, and many have introduced policies to improve the mental health of children and youth and to pull them out of poverty. But there is still much more to be done.
Among the new key issues evaluated in this year’s report are newborn hearing screening and an enhanced 18-month well-baby visit.
About the Canadian Paediatric Society
The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.