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:
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.
Who we are
Get Well Canada was created in 2022 by a small group of founding members:
- Generation Squeeze: Canada’s leading voice for generational fairness
- CCPA Think Upstream: A growing network of people who recognize that social, ecological, and economic conditions shape people’s health and the wellbeing of our communities
- The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health: Equipping the public health community to move knowledge into action on the social determinants of health, to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy
- Paul Kershaw, University of British Columbia
- Lindsay McLaren, University of Calgary
Daniel Dutton, Dalhousie University
- Ron Kneebone, University of Calgary
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