Current Advocacy Issues



The Canadian health care landscape is rapidly changing. From long hours contributed by the Advocacy Boot Camp principals and our peers, we have come a long way toward ensuring that the patient/consumer voice has weight and merit with government, health care professionals, industry, media, and others. However, we have noticed that a number of those currently representing patient groups have gaps in their knowledge about the systems and agencies that exist to bring medications to Canadians, as well as gaps in understanding about where the decision-making and responsibilities exist between and within the various levels of government. Simply put, there is a lack of understanding as to where and how a patient/consumer group might interact with various agencies or associations to ensure the best benefit for the groups they represent in getting access to the right treatment, at the right time, for the right individual.



Louise and Gail
Louise and Gail

Louise Binder and Gail Attara and the other colleagues with whom we are working have a solid history of ‘getting the job done’ in the health policy and advocacy environments and we are clear leaders among patient groups. We want to continue to see health care in Canada improve. We have conceived of the Advocacy Boot Camp as an interactive, four-day program in a retreat-like setting, involving some didactic, but mainly practical, application of knowledge-transfer sessions by integrating role-playing and real-life scenarios and examples. Each day will include one or two high-calibre experts covering the eight key areas mentioned below, and will include patient experts who successfully navigate these areas.



  • To inspire a strong cohort of focused, knowledgeable health care patient/consumer advocates to develop into strong leaders;
  • To educate budding patient leaders and advocates about current health policy programs and processes – federally, provincially, and territorially – for both public and private drug coverage;
  • To train and mentor attendees regarding opportunities for interacting with these systems to achieve optimal individual, group, and systemic results for patients; and
  • To promote appropriate partnerships, networks, and other relationships among patient representatives, and between them and the wide range of stakeholders in the health care arena.



We are leading a group of selected experts in curriculum development. This faculty consists of academic experts, industry leaders, political and bureaucratic leaders, union leaders, health care policy and practice leaders, including health economists, and patient leaders.


High-Level Content for Patient Group Leaders and Advocates

  1. Civics 101 – offers an explanation of the political and bureaucrat systems in Canada at federal, provincial, territorial, and local levels including the divisions of power between these jurisdictions and the roles of officials in each, along with the responsibilities of the judiciary and administrative tribunals, with specific reference to health. This includes the roles of government committees, budget process, elections, and more.
  2. Health Legislation and Processes in Canada – is a discussion of the Canada Health Act, Food and Drug Act, other related health legislation and policy e.g., discussion of federal health government departments and agencies; discussion of provincial health legislation and judicial decisions and agencies and the roles of each. This includes information about the patient relationship to industry, finance, and other government departments.
  3. Environmental Context – offers an overview of the roles of major patient networks and organizations in Canada, and how participants can integrate these to maximize individual efforts.
  4. Drugs and Devices in Canada – is a discussion of the life cycle of drug research and development from concept to post market surveillance. It covers who authorizes, reviews, approves, and pays for drugs and devices in Canada.
  5. Health Technology Assessment – focuses on drug reimbursement in Canada including Health Canada, CADTH: CDR & pCODR, pCPA, INESSS, rare disease framework, jurisdictional drug budgets, cancer care agencies, exceptional access program, special authority program, private drug plans, and more.
  6. Principles of Advocacy – focuses participants on principles of advocacy, for optimal success when interacting with both private and public agencies and will include formulas to help you implement a successful multi-faceted campaign.
  7. Ethics – in this module, we take a hard look at developing and managing constructive and ethical relationships among patient groups and who they represent, and between other health care stakeholders.
  8. Media – Participants will learn how to get the most out of a campaign by engaging the media using various tactics, including building relationships.


To Apply

Advocacy Boot Camp Advocacy Boot Camp is an intense, four-day enriched program. The cost per person, including registration, materials, accommodation, and meals is $5,000 plus HST.

We are now accepting applications from participants for our session at Kingbridge Conference Centre, Toronto. The session runs from 5:30 PM (dinner) on Thursday, June 7, and ending on Monday, June 11, 2018 at noon.

Please contact Gail Attara or Louise Binder for a preliminary discussion if you wish to attend.

Click here for more details (PDF).

Click here to see a list of current and past Advocacy Boot Camps.