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Provincial/territorial policy must do more for children and youth

Press Release

Jun 7 2016

OTTAWA—Provincial and territorial policy still falls short in many areas when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth, according to a report released today by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS).

The fifth edition of Are We Doing Enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health assesses current policy on a range of health and safety issues, and underscores inequity and inconsistencies across the country.

“While legislation has progressed in some areas since our last report in 2012, we continue to see room for improvement,” said Dr. Mike Dickinson, CPS Vice-President. “Further steps are needed because, as we’ve already seen, sustained advocacy and sound policies produce results.”

First published in 2005, Are We Doing Enough? looks at policies and legislation in areas such as health promotion, safety, and disease prevention. Since its first publication, governments are doing better in many critical areas. Provinces and territories with tough anti-smoking legislation show reduced smoking rates among youth, and the number of publicly funded vaccines has increased significantly. However, in every area of this report, especially breastfeeding promotion and managing type 1 diabetes in schools, there is still work to do.

“While every government has the onus to protect through policy and legislation, health experts play an essential role in shaping such laws and programs,” said Dr. Robin Williams, CPS President. “We hope that advocates working with governments to keep kids healthier and safer use this status report as a tool to help make these important changes in public policy.”

The report also assesses the federal government’s performance in key areas. Because thoughtful policy change takes time and this federal government’s mandate is still in its early days, the CPS is reserving assessment – temporarily – on some federal issues contained in this report.

Among the new key issues evaluated in this year’s report are breastfeeding promotion, child death review processes and the management of type 1 diabetes in schools.

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