Women and Health Care Reform

Women main users and providers of health care

Since the 1980s, governments across Canada have been instituting reforms to the health care system in an effort to contain costs and control public spending. Health care budgets have been slashed, user fees and deductibles on insurance have been introduced in some jurisdictions, and many services have been cut back or eliminated altogether.

As a result, a greater share of health care has fallen to communities, households and individuals. Although health care reforms affect everyone, their impact on women is greater than on men for a number of reasons. Women are more likely than men to live in poverty and to be involved in part-time, casual and precarious employment, with the result that they do not have access to employment-based benefits and cannot afford to pay for services. At the same time, women are the majority of health care providers, both paid and unpaid, in Canada.

Cuts to services and budgets not only result in greater job losses for women, but also create added burden for women, who are much more likely than men to take up the slack in the system by providing unpaid care. Health care reforms also affect women disproportionately because women are more likely than men to utilize health care services, for themselves as well as for others in their families.

Collaborative effort yields results

Because ACEWH undertook policy-based research, the impact of health care reforms figures prominently in many of our projects. But much of our work on health care reform is the result of a decade-long collaboration with a talented group of researchers from across the country. This group, known simply as Women and Health Care Reform (WHCR), generated an impressive array of research reports, papers, books, chapters and articles as well as a series of plain-language booklets.

WHCR also designed and hosted many workshops that brought together policy makers, researchers, and providers of care—paid and unpaid, to consider the implications of health care reforms for women. 

Research and products

How Women Define the Quality of Health Care: A Canadian Study [PDF - 189 kB]
Pat Armstrong, Madeline Boscoe, Barbara Clow, Karen Grant, Nancy Guberman, Margaret Haworth-Brockman, Beth Jackson, Ann Pederson, Morgan Seely, Kay Willson

Waiting For Care In Canada: A Report on the State of Wait List Management for Hip and Knee Replacements From Provincial and Territorial Government Websites
[PDF - 1.5 MB]
Jennifer Bernier, Kristen MacLellan, Barbara Clow (2010)

Gender-based Analysis and Wait Times: New Questions, New Knowledge - discussion paper [PDF - 175 kB]
Beth E. Jackson, Ann Pederson, Madeline Boscoe (2006)

Policy Options to Support Dependent Care: The Tax/Transfer System [PDF - 610 kB]
Richard Shillington (2004)

Reading Romanow: The Implications of the Final Report of The Commission on the  Future of Health Care in Canada for Women [PDF - 207 kB]
Pat Armstrong, Madeline Boscoe, Barbara Clow, Karen Grant, Ann Pederson, Kay Willson, Olena Hankivsky, Beth Jackson and Marina Morrow (2003)

Ethnicity, Income and Access to Health Care in the Atlantic Region: A Synthesis of the Literature [PDF -130 kB]
Najma R. Sharif, Atul A. Dar, Carol Amaratunga (2000)

Trying to Work It Out: Newfoundland Women's Experiences in Small Workplaces
[PDF - 285 kB]
Agnieszka Kosny (2000)

Women's Health in Atlantic Canada: A Statistical Portrait [PDF - 413 kB]
Ronald Colman (2000)

Privatization in Health Reform from Women's Perspectives: Research, Policy and Responses [PDF - 217 kB]
Maria Gurevich (1999)

Health Protection for the 21st Century? A Response from The Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health on Health Protection Branch Discussion Papers
[PDF - 150 kB] (1998)

Protection de la santé pour le 21è siècle? [PDF 156 - kB] (1998)