Policy & Practice Change

Together we’ll huff and we’ll puff…

Lung disease places a profound burden on patients and their families. It also places a large—and growing—economic burden on every provincial healthcare system across Canada. Bold new approaches are urgently needed, and the Lung Health Foundation is leading the way by driving policy change. Lung health starts now!

Breathing Policy Forums

Our Breathing Policy Forum series empowers the Lung Health Foundation to tackle some of the most urgent and pressing issues facing healthcare today. We set change in motion by bringing together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to develop creative and actionable solutions that will improve the healthcare system in Ontario, and across Canada. 

Immunization in the Age of COVID-19

Researchers across the globe are racing to discover a vaccine for COVID-19, but they face a variety of challenges. At the same time, the pandemic could have a number of implications for this year’s flu season and there is a need to ensure that there is uptake of influenza and pneumonia vaccines.

Is the Canadian regulatory environment conducive to vaccine innovation and what barriers to developing and accessing a COVID-19 vaccine exist?

Immunization Innovation

Seasonal influenza vaccination is the best thing that a Canadian can do to protect themselves from the flu and its potentially deadly complications. But vaccination rates aren’t budging, and a “perfect” longer term flu vaccine is years away – IF our system can foster the innovation needed to get us there.

Can more be done to drive vaccine uptake UP and drive the incidence of influenza DOWN by supporting immunization innovation?

A policy forum attendee listens to the speakers

Generic Interchangeability

A number of new branded inhaled drugs will become available in the coming years. At the same time, the market will be welcoming a new wave of generic inhalers of medicines with expired patents. Currently, there is no standard definition for “sameness” of an inhaler device.

How do we best navigate the issue of generic inhalers coming into Canada to ensure that patient outcomes are not negatively impacted?

A policy forum speaker addressing the crowd

Access to Precision Medicine

The Right Treatment for the Right Patient at the Right Time

Lung cancer care options are rapidly evolving. But despite numerous scientific advancements and innovations, many patients are waiting too long for access to the precision medicine they desperately need. Some will even die waiting due to a drug approval process that is fragmented and inconsistent.

What if we improved the accessibility and affordability of oral cancer drugs, while reducing the barriers to timely biomarker testing?

The Importance of Immunization to the Health of Seniors

Prevention: The Best Medicine

The flu shot eliminates the need for more than 30,000 visits to Ontario hospital emergency departments. It also prevents approximately 300 deaths each year. Meanwhile, pneumonia is one of the leading causes of illness in Canadian seniors and, in 2018, for the first time in five years, it became a leading cause of emergency department visits in Canada.

What types of policies are needed to increase vaccination rates?


Demystifying the Smoke and Mirrors

Cannabis is an emerging issue that the Lung Health Foundation is working to get ahead of given
its legalization on October 17, 2018. It is a complex and multi-faceted issue that affects the
numerous stakeholders who hold varying perspectives around the distribution, sale and use
of cannabis. We need to ensure Ontarians are educated about this issue in order to make
informed choices.

How can we make sure we’re properly navigating the evolving landscape of cannabis use in Ontario, and across Canada?

Policy forum attendees listen intently

Drug Reimbursement

Managing Costs without Compromising Health and Access

If a drug price is set too high, the number of people with access to it will be limited. But if a price is set to low, innovative drug companies will seek jurisdictions with more favourable conditions to test drugs that have the potential to be lifesaving.

How can we find a balance?

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The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in the Healthcare System

Collaboration for change
Without question, healthcare costs are spiralling upwards. This is due, in large part, to the rising
incidence and economic burden of chronic diseases like COPD.
Can public-private partnerships (PPPs) close the gap created by increasing healthcare costs and decreasing budgets?

Our Success

Through our advocacy efforts we have had some tremendous success in protecting your lung health:

  • Ryan’s Law was passed into law in 2015. It allows a student to carry his/her own asthma medication with his/her parent’s or guardian’s permission.
  • Ending coal fired generation in Ontario. In 2014 we stood proudly with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Hon. Glenn Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, to announce a ban on coal-fired electricity generation in the province – a first in North America and a significant step in ensuring we have clean air to breathe.
  • Banning smoking in vehicles when a child under the age of 16 is present through legislation introduced in 2008 by the Ontario government. The bill, which is an amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, prohibited smoking in vehicles with a proposed fine of $250. We were a leader behind the bill’s adoption and we applaud the efforts to ensure the safety and health of Ontario’s youth from the harmful effects of tobacco.