CAPHC Response to Joint Statement of Action to Address Opioid Crisis

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Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Federal Minister of Health
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

November 20, 2017

Dear Minister Petitpas Taylor,

On behalf of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres we thank you for addressing the important topic of safe and effective healthcare for all. We appreciate the level of collaboration and commitment directed toward the growing opioid crisis in Canada and understand the complexity of the issues.

As a national association representing over 250 organizations providing health services to Canada’s children and youth we would like to respond to your November 15, 2017 announcement regarding the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis: A Collective Response and ensure that any national recommendation or guidelines to address the responsible use of opioids must include clear and explicit direction for the treatment of children.

We hope your approach will continue to be comprehensive and compassionate; inclusive of all populations who require health services that may include access to safe and effective pain management. Quality of life through effective pain management must not be lost in the addiction conversation.

We understand the importance of harm reduction and emergency measures to stop the loss of life, but we must not lose sight of the critical importance of addressing the many contributing factors in the opioid crisis.

There are child and youth issues related to this crisis which must be addressed:

  • Access to age appropriate, evidence informed pain management guidelines and standards
  • The fastest-growing rate of hospital admissions over the last ten years for opioid toxicity was for youth and young adults aged 15 to 24. (CIHI 2017
  • The rate of hospitalizations of babies with neonatal (opioid) abstinence syndrome in Canada has risen from 1,448 in 2012-13 to 1,846 in 2016-17 fiscal year (Canadian Institute for Healthcare Information)

There are “Opportunities to Expand Impact” in relation to the infant, child and youth population through the support of research and programs aimed at this vulnerable population. CAPHC and our member organizations would like to offer our assistance to you to ensure that children’s interests are heard and addressed in all national policy regarding health and wellness.

The Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC) is a recognized leader and advocate for improving healthcare delivery services for Canada’s children and youth. CAPHC focuses on innovative initiatives and programs that have broad national relevance, which are both practical and actionable at the point of service delivery. Over the past many years, CAPHC has demonstrated that advancing quality improvement in child and youth healthcare at a system level is possible through strength in collaboration, strategic partnerships and innovation.

Please see attached, Ministerial Opioid Roundtable Advocacy letter, that was sent to Minister Jane Philpott in preparation for the June 12, 2017 Ministerial Roundtable on Opioids.



Dr. Peter Fitzgerald
President, McMaster Children’s Hospital
Chair of the Board, Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres

Emily Gruenwoldt
President and CEO, Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres