Allan J. MacEachen and the Future of Long‑Term Care



This event took place on July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the late Honourable Allan J. MacEachen’s birth. In celebration of MacEachen’s countless contributions to the social and political life in Canada, the Institute is pleased to be hosting a special online event.

Schedule of events:


It has been fifty-five years since the work of the late Honourable Allan J. MacEachen to create, pass, and implement the 1966 Medical Care Act. What have we learned regarding health care delivery in Canada, and what are some lessons we can draw from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Address by Dr. Joanne Langley, Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and Co-Chair of the Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

Panel discussion

Long-Term Care and the Canada Health Act: The Unfinished Chapter?       

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing deficiencies and challenges in the delivery of long-term care in Canada. Many stakeholders are calling for national standards, but there are questions about the best approach. Should we amend the Canada Health Act to include LTC or develop new legislation? Chronic staffing challenges will also need to be addressed, such as equitable and permanent pay and benefits for care aides, mental health supports for all staff; and improved and required data collection. A coordinated approach between Federal and Provincial/Territorial Governments will be necessary.

Panelists include:

  • The Honourable Anne McLellan (Chair), Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and Former Minister of Health
  • Darrell Dexter, Vice-Chair at Global Public Affairs and Former Premier of Nova Scotia
  • Dr. Joanne Langley, Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University
  • Jason Shannon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Shannex
  • Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System
  • Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Assistant Dean of Serving and Engaging Society for Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine

Video and Reflection

Reflections on the legacy of Allan MacEachen by Dr. Thomas Axworthy, Chair of Public Policy at Massey College and Distinguised Senior Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs.

About the Speakers

Dr. Joanne Langley

Dr. Joanne Langley is a Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She is also the head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre, and lead for the Clinical Trials Network of the Canadian Immunization Research Network.

Dr. Langley currently co-chairs the Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Her research is focused on the epidemiology and vaccine prevention of respiratory infections and immunization decision making.


The Honourable Anne McLellan

The Honourable A. Anne McLellan is a senior advisor at Bennett Jones in Edmonton. Prior to joining Bennett Jones, she had a distinguished career in federal politics, where she served four terms as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre from 1993-2006. Ms. McLellan provides national and international strategic planning assistance to the firm's clients.

During her political career, Ms. McLellan was Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Minister of Health, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Natural Resources and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. As Deputy Prime Minister, she chaired two Cabinet committees: the Operations Committee and the Security, Public Health and Emergencies Committee.

Darrell Dexter

Darrell Dexter, former Premier of Nova Scotia, is an Honourary Distinguished Fellow with the MacEachen Institute at Dalhousie University and Vice Chair with Global Public Affairs, which he joined in 2015. Darrell is a senior member of the Global team, working with the firm’s public affairs experts across the country.

Darrell assumed the leadership of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party (NDP) in 2001 and led it to form the first-ever provincial NDP government in Atlantic Canada, becoming the 27th Premier of Nova Scotia. 

As Premier, he earned praise for launching a renewable energy strategy, advancing a progressive social policy, controlling spending and reducing small business taxes.

Jason Shannon

Jason Shannon is President and Chief Operating Officer of Shannex, a private, family-owned company which designs, builds, and operates a full continuum of seniors living communities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario. Over the past 20 years under Jason’s leadership, each of these communities remains focused on providing exceptional care and service to residents consistent with Shannex’ s Philosophy of Service that ensures residents have the power to choose how they live their lives. 

Jason is a hands-on leader who remains closely connected to operational realities while guiding organizational strategy and development activities. Jason’s passion for driving innovation and quality has led to real change that has improved the lives of seniors at every stage of living, including home care, retirement living and long-term care. 

Jason is a graduate of Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) and an L.L.B (1997). He is a member and chairs several public, and private company boards that service the real estate, technology, and health care fields. Over the years he has also volunteered on many educational, and not-for-profit boards that focus on seniors aging well.

Dr. Samir Sinha

Dr. Samir Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto.

He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Director of Health Policy Research at Ryerson University’s National Institute on Ageing. 

A Rhodes Scholar, Samir is a highly regarded clinician and international expert in the care of older adults. He was recently tapped to lead the development of new National Long-Term Care Standards for Canada.

Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed

Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed is the Assistant Dean of Serving and Engaging Society for Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine, and Chair of the Board of Engage Nova Scotia. She is a public health specialist physician with 16 years experience, having served as the former Medical Officer of Health for the Halifax area and Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia. 

She sits as chair or member of several population health councils and boards nationally, including the Examination Board for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Board of Community Food Centres of Canada. She is co-chair of the Advisory Council to the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health and a member of the CIHI Advisory Council on Population Health.

Dr. Watson-Creed sat on the One Nova Scotia Coalition, and received the William Grigor award for achievement in medicine from Doctors Nova Scotia in 2017. In 2018 she was awarded the President's award from Public Health Physicians of Canada for her advocacy regarding public health systems and services in Canada. In 2019 she was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women's Executive Network in recognition of the direction and support she has provided to so many initiatives. Dr. Watson-Creed was named to the federal Task Force on Women in the Economy, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister Mona Fortier, in 2021.

Dr. Thomas Axworthy, OC

Thomas S. Axworthy has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and philanthropy. He served as the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and he was a key strategist on repatriation of the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

In 1984, Dr. Axworthy went to Harvard University, teaching at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2003, he left Harvard and was appointed Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. He is currently the Chair of Public Policy at Massey College and a distinguished senior fellow both the Munk School of Global Affairs and Massey College. 

His career in philanthropy began in 1986 with his appointment to the CRB Foundation where he initiated the Heritage Minutes and the National Heritage Fairs Programs. To recognize his achievements in heritage education, civics, and citizenship, Dr. Axworthy was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada (2002). 

From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Axworthy was president and CEO of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. He is the author of numerous books and articles of which the best known is Towards a Just Society, co-authored with Pierre Trudeau.