Members of Provincial Parliament Unite to Help Ontarians Breathe with Ease
Toronto (November 22, 2016)- Today, the Lung Health Act, will be introduced by MPPs McMeekin, Yurek and Gelinas in the Ontario legislature. The tripartite Private Members Bill (PMB) calls for the establishment of a Lung Health Advisory Council and the development of a Lung Health Action Plan that will provide a coordinated approach to how lung disease is prevented and treated in our province.
Of the four chronic diseases responsible for four in five deaths in Ontario-- cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung disease and diabetes -- lung disease is the only one without a dedicated province-wide strategy, this despite the ever-increasing human and economic burden of respiratory illness in Ontario.
"Thanks to the passion and hard work of the Hon. Kathryn McGarry, MPP McMeekin, MPP Yurek and MPP Gelinas, we now have a blueprint for a coordinated approach that will prevent lung disease, improve patient outcomes and save health-care dollars," said George Habib, president and CEO of The Lung Association - Ontario.
Among the Bill's recommended priority actions:
• 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;
• Require the Minister of Health to consider the recommendations and reports of the Lung Health Advisory Council to make improvements in lung health awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care.
An original version of the bill was introduced by then Member of Provincial Parliament KathrynMcGarry in 2014, but "died on the order table" following prorogation in September 2016.
"I am honoured to partner with The Lung Association to further advance important research and a co-ordinated strategy to move lung health issues forward. We appreciate the ongoing and wonderful advocacy of The Lung Association, to ensure that all Ontarians breathe with ease." Ted McMeekin, MPP Ancaster-Dundas-Fiamborough-Westdale, Former President, Hamilton-Wentworth Lung Association.
"I look forward to the day when the Lung Health Act becomes a reality, and Ontarians have access to a strategy including health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, earlyintervention and treatment and care. We have waited far too long." MPP France Gelinas, NickelBelt, NDP Health and Long-term Care Critic.
"I am pleased to co-sponsor this common sense Private Members Bill with my colleagues. This bill will establish a Lung Health Advisory Council that will make recommendations to the Minister of Health. A year and a half ago my Private Member's Bill, Ryan's Law was passed into law requiring schools and school boards to adhere to a provincial standard when designing asthma policies making asthma friendly schools across the province. Lung health is important and I am pleased to see the introduction of this bill." Jeff Yurek, MPP, Elgin-Middlesex London, PC Health Critic.
The proposed Ontario Lung Health Action Plan provides solutions from prevention through to early identification, treatment, policies and research. The recommendations in the plan align strongly with the mandate of the Minister of Health and Long-term Care- increasing access to care for those who need it most through Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care.
"The 1 in 5 Ontarians who live with chronic respiratory disease, and the millions more who love and care for them, deserve nothing less," said Dr. John Granton, past-chair of The Lung Association - Ontario. "The Lung Association, in consultation with more than 60 stakeholders, has drafted a provincial action plan that will save money and save lives."
EMPOWERING ONTARIANS TO BREATHE
Breathing. It's what unites us. It's what inspires us. And it's what keeps us pushing ahead, whether it's searching for cures to lung diseases, helping people to quit smoking and ensuring that children never start, or fighting for clean air.
The Lung Association is the leading organization working to promote lung health and prevent and manage lung disease. We do this by funding vital research, pushing for improved treatments and better policies, and helping patients manage their health.
Along with our health professional partners, the Ontario Thoracic Society and the Ontario Respiratory Care Society, we are the go-to resource for patients, their families, caregivers, health professionals and the general community. We might come from different places and bring different talents to the table, but we are all here for the same reason: to ensure that no one has to ever struggle to breathe.