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The Ontario Lung Assocation’s Pre-Budget Submission

Jan 22, 2016


Of the four chronic diseases responsible for 79 per cent of deaths in Ontario – cancers, cardiovascular diseases, lung disease and diabetes – lung disease remains the only one without a dedicated province-wide strategy.

In 2011, the Ontario Lung Association report “Your Lungs, Your Life” estimated that the direct and indirect cost of lung disease to the Ontario economy was $4 billion. Further it was estimated that by 2016 this cost would rise to more than $35 billion – and continue to rise to more than $300 billion in the next 30 years.

On November 19, 2014, MPP Kathryn McGarry stood up to turn back the rising tide of lung disease in Ontario when she tabled her private member’s bill, Bill 41, Lung Health Act, 2014. As lung disease affects millions of Ontarians – not only the 2.4 million people who live with a chronic respiratory illness but also the millions more who love and care for them – MPP McGarry’s efforts were endorsed by stakeholders such as the Ontario Lung Association and the more than 40 members of the Ontario Lung Health Alliance.


The Ontario government must now invest in lung health in order to change the trajectory of rising health and economic costs related to lung disease.  The following recommendations are components of an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan that can be implemented immediately, with modest investment, as part of the 2016 Ontario Budget to help those who struggle to breathe.  This investment can be broken down into five recommendations:

  1. Establish a Lung Health Working Group, co-led by designates of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Ontario Lung Association
  2. Add 200 additional Certified Respiratory Educators (e.g. specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, etc.) to existing health-care infrastructure
  3. Expand access to pulmonary rehabilitation services and community-based exercise maintenance programs
  4. Ensure spirometry (breathing test) is administered to all patients at risk of lung disease, in particular current and former smokers over the age of 40
  5. Provide access to valved holding chambers (spacers) for children (newborns to age 12) and seniors (over 65)

By investing in the above recommendations, the Ontario government will see considerable short and long-term health and economic benefits in every community in Ontario.

Click here to view our full 2016 pre-budget submission.