About the CFMSThe CFMS is an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations.
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) Board met in Ottawa from October 25th-27th 2019 for the Fall Board Meeting, where a motion to make the National Day of Action topic “Access to Contraception” was passed.
The National Day of Action is an opportunity for medical students across the country to gather on Parliament Hill, and advocate to Parliamentarians on topics that are of importance to them and their patient populations. Medical students have the opportunity to engage in health advocacy training during the weekend in Ottawa, and are prepared for discussions regarding positive health care changes related to the National Day of Action Topic.
The topic for the National Day of Action is determined through a multi-step process. Firstly, general ideas and topics are submitted by CFMS members. These topics are then brought to the National Day of Action Topic Selection Committee, who contribute further ideas and narrow the selection to five topics based on relevance and feasibility. This year the five final contenders were presented at CFMS Annual General Meeting (AGM), after which the general assembly delegations ranked their top choices, and run-off voting was utilized. Following this process the topic with the most votes is then brought forward to the CFMS Board for final approval, as a strong recommendation from the General Assembly. The topic with the most votes at the 2019 AGM was “Water Security”, closely followed by “Access to Contraception”.
This year was unique, as the 2019 Federal Election was held after the topics were presented and voted on at AGM 2019. Platform commitments made by federal parties and the effect they might have on medical student advocacy could not be taken into consideration at that time. During deliberations, it was noted that the Liberal party had stated their intention to lift all long-term boil water advisories by 2021, as well as to assemble a “Canada Water Agency”, to develop water policy nationwide. As such, it was felt by the Board that our primary advocacy concerns were sufficiently addressed. As a result, the Board felt that the CFMS’ human and financial resources would be better suited to advocate on another area of advocacy. Given the desire to respect the will of the membership, the second-most voted topic, “Access to Contraception” was chosen. The Board feels that “Access to Contraception” provides a unique opportunity to advocate, as this topic was not addressed in the party platforms, and no commitments have been made to date by the Liberal government. Additionally, given the potential for national pharmacare in the next several years, the Board believes it is timely to raise this topic at the national level.
The National Day of Action Research Committee will soon begin the consultation and research process to produce a comprehensive backgrounder for the National Day of Action that will take place in Ottawa. The date will be announced at a later date.
Please direct any questions or concerns to the Director of Government Affairs, Helen Teklemariam, at [email protected].