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Lung Health Action Plan

An Ontario Lung Health Action Plan: It’s Time

Although there are several initiatives and government policies dealing with lung disease, the Ontario government does not have a comprehensive strategy to deal with lung health, despite the significant prevalence of Ontarians living with lung disease.

Today, there are more than 2.8 million Ontarians who suffer from lung disease.

Ontario health-care stakeholders played a key role in the push for, and creation of, a National Lung Health Framework; a national strategic plan for respiratory health in Canada.

Since the initial meeting in the spring of 2008, The Lung Association – Ontario worked to strengthen its partnerships and identify the need for an Ontario specific approach.

In 2010, we brought together key stakeholders who have since formed the Ontario Lung Health Alliance with the primary goal of advocating for an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan (OLHAP).

Why we need a Lung Health Action Plan

Lung health affects us all. Whether through personal experience or economic impact, lung disease touches millions of men, women and children. The most significant impact is on the long-term quality of life for individuals and families who are affected by lung disease.

The Your Lungs, Your Life report (The Lung Association – Ontario 2011) demonstrated that respiratory disease also represents one of the most significant economic burdens on Ontario’s health care system, and that coordinated action is needed to counter this impact on our economy and quality of life.

We believe that no one in this great province of Ontario should struggle for their 22,000 breaths each day. An Ontario Lung Health Action Plan will help us, our partners, and government deliver better services to help you breathe.

Moving the plan forward

A draft Ontario Lung Health Action Plan was developed by The Lung Association with input from a wide variety of stakeholders. The draft plan aligns with the primary goals of the National Lung Health Framework and recommends key areas of action that are aimed at:

  • Preventing lung disease
  • Improving patient outcomes
  • Saving taxpayer dollars

Bill 71, Lung Health Act, 2016 is a legislative and cumulative effort from Ontarians respiratory community and government to tackle lung disease in Ontario. The OHLAP plan mentioned above is a component of Bill 71. More than 38 candidates from all parties during the 2014 election signed up to support the call for an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan.

In November 2016, the Lung Association-Ontario met with Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Ted McMeekin, MPP Jeff Yurek and MPP France Gelinas-from all three political parties.

All made a commitment then and there to help those living and dealing with lung disease. The Bill had been previously introduced by MPP Kathryn McGarry in 2014 under Bill 41, Lung Health Act, but it “died” when the Premier prorogued parliament and MPP McGarry was appointed to cabinet.

The resulting Bill 71 built upon the work that The Lung Association – Ontario and the Ontario Lung Health Alliance had done in developing a draft Ontario Lung Health Action Plan, a comprehensive plan aimed at helping Ontarians breathe.

On November 23rd, 2016 a Private Members Bill, Bill 71 Lung Health Act, 2016, was brought forward. This legislation, if passed into law, will:

  • Establish a Lung Health Advisory Council that will make recommendations to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care on lung health issues;
  • Develop and implement an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan respecting research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease; and
  • Require the Minister to consider the recommendations and reports of the Lung Health Advisory Council and to make improvements in lung health awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care.

We are continuing our advocacy efforts with the government to pass Bill 71 into law For details on how you can take action please refer to our Take Action page.