Get Well Canada is on a quest to improve social supports that keep us well and ease the load on doctors, nurses and hospitals. With your help, we will reverse a decades-long retreat from social investment by provincial governments in order to reduce pressure on our medical system, help tackle our affordability crisis, and preserve a higher quality of life for future generations. Canadians will be happier, healthier, wealthier and more resilient as a result. 

Why we came together

Our alliance responds to decades of science showing that the conditions into which we are born, grow, live, work and age more strongly influence our health than our medical care system. These social supports may not be the first thing that comes to mind when many people think about health. But evidence confirms that they should be front and centre, working alongside, rather than take a backseat to, doctors, clinics, and hospitals.

Despite this evidence, investments we make in the name of health seldom focus on improving social conditions. Medical care expenditures are consuming an ever-larger slice of public spending, and the urgency attached to these investments is pushing other things to the backburner – or crowding them out altogether. The result is underinvestment in the social supports (eg. housing, child care, poverty reduction) that help us live healthier, happier and longer lives. As a result, people die earlier, or live with pain and illness longer. Get Well Canada needs your help to fix this.

What we're doing

There’s a gap between the science of wellbeing and current government policy. We work to close this gap by providing: 

Better tracking
Better tracking and reporting: The Prime Minister recently observed, "What gets measured gets done." Canada needs tools to monitor public spending on wellbeing over time to ensure political leaders can make informed and efficient spending decisions. A key data point for genuine health innovation is tracking the ratio of social spending relative to medical spending. To ensure social investments ‘get done,’ we ask Ottawa to task the Canadian Institute for Health Information to feature this ratio as part of its annual reporting. Proposed federal health investments put money on the table for CIHI to develop new indicators to track progress. 
Culture change
Culture change: Public opinion constrains policy action. So Get Well Canada works with stakeholders and partners to help citizens better understand what creates health. Once we do, we’ll use this public opinion to champion the kinds of investments that will genuinely improve wellbeing – and reveal that our government’s current spending priorities don’t match up.
Better balance in budgets
Better balance in government budgets: We work actively to support provincial and federal governments to monitor the social/medical spending ratio in their annual budgets. We ask governments to report on how this information influences their spending priorities so that they strike the right balance between social and medical investments. We aim to empower governments to increase spending on social supports, which will put less pressure on medical systems and save taxpayers money. There are real health risks when medical care routinely gets the lion’s share of new public spending, because it crowds out investment where health begins. Canadians have neglected the social side of the health equation for too long, shortening lives, undermining wellbeing, and growing inequality.

In sum, we help Canadians get clear about how academic evidence, political systems, and Canadian values intersect – a potent combination!  To address all three, we want to help Canadians and their governments better understand the relationship between medical spending and spending on social conditions that underpin health. We then want governments to make more strategic and efficient investments in social supports that will eventually take more pressure off of our medical system. 

We’re not expecting everyone to agree on how best to support health promotion. Especially when we’re talking about investing outside of medical care, which has a special place in the hearts and minds of Canadians. But we do hope to make a powerful case that a shared agenda for change is possible.  

Get Well Canada [EN] En Forme Canada [FR]

Who we are

Founding members

Get Well Canada was created in 2022 by a small group of founding members:  


Get Well Canada gratefully acknowledges the following funders for supporting aspects of its work to mobilize knowledge and analyze government spending on medical care and social supports.

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
  • Public Health Agency of Canada