• More panels only further delay action for health care system in crisis

    Today, Health Minister Jason Copping held a press conference to announce the UCP government’s “Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System” (MAPS) plan, with the help of three new advisory panels with a mandate to report back with recommendations in Spring 2023. 

    “After months of ignoring calls for urgent action on an urgent situation, the government has announced three impending panels, without all of the chairs picked, let alone other panel members in place,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Rather than announcing ever more advisory panels, the government should be fulfilling its responsibility to provide quality, timely health care to Albertans.”

  • Health Coalitions denounce for-profit deal by Canadian Blood Services that endangers Canada’s Blood Supply

    OTTAWA (the traditional and unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people) - Canada’s provincial and territorial Health Coalitions and the Canadian Health Coalition call for the resignation of the leadership of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) including the CEO and Board of Directors. This call comes after the appalling decision by CBS to sign a 15-year agreement with a for-profit international pharmaceutical firm to collect plasma.

  • Expansion of private surgeries puts profits before patients yet again

    Today, Jason Kenney and Health Minister Jason Copping announced that they were expanding private chartered surgeries in Alberta, and that Alberta Health Services has released two Request for Proposals (RFP) for contractors to open two private surgical facilities in the province. 

    “This has never been about improving access or expanding capacity,” says Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “This government has shown over and over that their myopic pursuit of supposed 'savings' will always trump what’s best for patients and their families. At the end of the day, this is about securing more profits for private health care operators.”

  • Overdose Awareness Day Reminder That Alberta Must do Better on Drug Poisoning Crisis

    Government of Alberta data shows that at least 1557 Albertans have been lost to an overdose since this time last year.

    August 31 marks International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to “end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.”

    “This year we will mourn hundreds more Albertans who we have lost to the ongoing drug poisoning crisis. These are not just statistics, but our friends, family, neighbours and community members,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Each loss is a painful story for the loved ones left behind. We must pause to remember each of them, and then rededicate ourselves to fighting for change for the living.”

  • Opinion: It's past time to fix health-care closures and short-staffing in Alberta

    This Op-Ed by FOM's Executive Director, Chris Gallaway, originally appeared in the Edmonton Journal on August 20, 2022.

    Recent announcements of an urgent-care hours reduction in Airdrie, the temporary emergency department closure in Hardisty, and the obstetrics closure in Fort Saskatchewan are just the latest examples of the bed and unit closures which are rampant throughout our health-care system this summer.

  • Albertans are Right to be Concerned About Access to Abortion and Reproductive Health Services

    Recent responses from Alberta politicians make it clear Alberta isn’t immune from the politics that seek to roll back the right to choose.

    The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade has put a spotlight on the right to choose and access abortion services here in Canada, leading many Albertans to worry. 

    “While the US Supreme Court decision doesn’t directly change any laws here, Albertans are right to be concerned,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The comments many Alberta politicians have been making since this court decision make it clear that there is a coordinated political movement seeking to roll back the right to choose here.”

  • Another Day, Another Privatization Announcement from the UCP Government

    When negotiations are concluded, Alberta Health Services will go from contracting out 40% of retail food services in Calgary and Edmonton to 100%.


  • Albertans Will be Watching for Public Health Care Solutions at UCP Leadership Candidates' Debate Tonight

    The first official UCP leadership debate is this evening in Medicine Hat, topics include Leadership and Unity, Health care, and the Economy and the Environment.

    Under Jason Kenney, the UCP government’s record has been one of anti-evidence and ideological decision-making, with short-sighted decisions that fail to consider the downstream health costs or impacts on the health care system. They have consistently prioritized an agenda of privatization ahead of improving patient care, whether it’s surgeries, community labs, EMS, ophthalmology, seniors care, home care, or schemes to send surgeons and their patients out of province

  • Insulin Pump Decision Shows Albertans Fighting Back Can Win

    This morning, the Government of Alberta reversed course on previously announced changes to the Insulin Pump Therapy Program following backlash from Albertans.

    In May, the lives of 4,000 Albertans with diabetes and their families were thrown into chaos and uncertainty when the government announced sudden changes to the Insulin Pump Therapy Program. Albertans responded quickly, sending more than twenty thousand letters to their representatives, speaking out against these changes and the destructive impact they would have on their households and communities. Shortly after, the government announced a pause to those changes, and today reversed course completely.

  • Albertans Deserve Access to a Fourth Vaccine Dose

    The vast majority of Canadians now have access to a fourth dose/booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine, but not here in Alberta.

    Canada is now in the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wastewater numbers are up, case numbers are up, and fatalities continue, making it clear that the highly contagious BA.5 sub-variant is spreading quickly through Alberta. In response, other provinces have been announcing expanded vaccination programs, but the Alberta government has yet to announce any changes or expanded access. Nor have they reinstated any public health measures to help protect Albertans or our health care system from this ongoing pandemic.