Keynote Speakers

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Opening Keynote:  Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

9:00 am - 10:15 am


Speaker:  Dr. Gregory P. Marchildon


The Canadian Health System and Citizens Role in Reform


After providing an overview of the Canadian health system and how it works, Greg Marchildon will describe recent reforms. His lecture focuses on the role of citizens in general, and patients and unpaid caregivers, in determining both the nature and pace of reforms. A key ingredient is the extent to which Canadians as users of health care, as taxpayers, and as voters are properly informed about Canadian health system and the broad range of options for improving and how the system is financed and administered as well as how to promote new citizen- and patient-centred policies. He then focuses on the roles that libraries and librarians can play to curate and assist Canadians to find the key information they need to exert greater influence. He sees this as part of a call to action for citizens to scrutinize the health system.   


Keynote Discussion:  Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

11:00 am - 12:15 pm


Speakers:  Dr. Owen Adams and Dr. Gregory P. Marchildon


National Pharmacare in Canada


More than half a century since the landmark report of the Royal Commission on Health Services (1961-64)  a broad consensus has emerged that all Canadians should have access to prescription drugs regardless of their ability to pay. However, there is not such a degree of agreement on how to achieve this. On one hand the House of Commons Health Committee has recommended a single public payer approach that would put pharmacare on the same footing as the hospital and medical services know as Medicare. On the other the House of Commons Finance Committee has recommended a closing the gap approach that might involve a public-private mix of payers, such as the plan adopted by Quebec in 1990s. The Advisory Committee on the Implementation of National Pharmacare is expected to report to the Government of Canada before the federal election in Fall 2019 on the following questions which Greg Marchildon and Owen Adams will discuss and debate in this special conference session:

  • Will the provinces and territories agree to buy into the national coordination necessary to support a single payer pharmacare plan?

  • What shape are federal and provincial/territorial finances in to support the transition costs to a single player plan?

  • What tradeoffs are Canadians willing to accept to achieve universal pharmacare in Canada (e.g drug formulary choices, increased taxes)

  • How attainable are the projected savings from a single payer plan (ranging from $4 billion to $7 billion) and over what time frame?


Gregory P. Marchildon is the the Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design at the University of Toronto where he holds at cross appointment at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto. He is also the Director of the North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
He has published numerous books and articles on Canadian public policy, comparative health systems, and the evolution of Canadian medicare. He is the author of two editions of Health Systems in Transition: Canada published by the World Health Organization and the University of Toronto Press. In the 1990s, he served as a Deputy Minister in the Saskatchewan Government and was Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Minister to the Premier form 1996 until 2000. In 2001-02, he was Executive Director of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada chaired by the Hon. Roy Romanow.


Owen Adams is Chief Policy Advisor at the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), based in Ottawa, Ontario. Since joining the CMA in 1990 he has contributed to the associations research and policy development in areas such as physician human resources, health system financing and health reform. Prior to joining the CMA he spent 12 years in the Health Division of Statistics Canada. He holds a BA and MA in Sociology from Western University and a PhD in Population Health from the University of Ottawa.