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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

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Seminar looks at implications of altered federal role in health policy

13 Mar 2013

The current federal government insists its role in health policy is limited to providing funds to the provinces. In a seminar titled Perspectives on the Federal Role in Health Policy, Pierre-Gerlier (P.G.) Forest, President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, will discuss the implications that this approach to governing health care, which he describes as a departure from the cautious course favoured by previous governments, may have on the adaptive capacity of the national health care system.

Forest suggests it is too early to predict if this approach will produce the changes the federal government desires, but it is unlikely the national health system will experience radical changes in just a few years or suddenly collapse.  

He will talk about why it is important to determine if differences in the implicit governance structure, which he feels needs to evolve from a tradition of executive federalism tempered by citizen engagement to a vision in which the provinces and the federal government limit their exchanges to fiscal transfers and technical cooperation, will actually deliver the decisions needed to preserve the adaptive capacity of the health system.

Forest is president and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which supports innovation in policy research and the dissemination of original and practical solutions to crucial social issues. Prior to joining the Trudeau Foundation, he was appointed to the G.D.W. Cameron Visiting Chair (2003) before becoming Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Scientist (2004-2006) with Health Canada. As the principal scientific advisor to the Minister of Health, Forest was accountable for the quality and integrity of the scientific and regulatory research conducted by the department. In 2000-2001, he served as Director of Research for the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (Romanow Commission).

Forest has a PhD in history and socio-politics of science from the Universite de Montreal. He holds adjunct professorships with the Faculty of Medicine, Universite de Montreal and the National School for Public Administration (Quebec). He was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2008.

The seminar will take place on Wednesday March 20 in CRL B119, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The seminar will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend.

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