The Canadian Chiropractic Association appreciates the opportunity to appear before the committee. Healthy living is fundamental to our profession.
The promotion of a healthy lifestyle is an important objective of chiropractic care. As primary contact health care providers, the chiropractic profession supports public health promotion and prevention strategies that encourage physical and mental health well-being, such as programs that address smoking cessation, obesity, physical activity, and nutrition.
Historically, at its core the chiropractic profession has embraced its role as health promoters and champions in healthy living. By engaging patients as active partners in managing their own health outcomes, chiropractors aim to improve overall function and well-being. Consequently, the adoption of healthy living approaches by patients helps them achieve greater capacity. The average chiropractor spends a considerable amount of time recognizing and managing capacity issues at their early stages. As chiropractors, we can assist our overworked fellow health care providers in acute care by providing health and prevention in the framework of our patient plan of management.
The CCA's initiatives are founded on chiropractic's strength to implement such strategies. Our recent programs have included Fit-in 15, which encourages Canadians of every age and fitness level to devote 15 minutes a day to a physical activity. Recognizing the aging population, the CCA has also developed Best Foot Forward, which is a program targeted for seniors to reduce falls and their associated negative outcomes. An initiative of the CCA and its provincial divisions in conjunction with Chatelaine magazine has produced the Chatelaine back health promotion, both in print and online. In addition, our provincial divisions have also developed a number of creative public health initiatives, including Alberta's bad back campaign, British Columbia's WorkSafe, Ontario's Lift Light, Shovel Right, Quebec's Santémania, Newfoundland's Straighten Up, and so forth.
Canadian chiropractors are involved on a daily basis in widespread activities to promote healthy living to our patients and Canadians in general.
Our efforts do not stand alone, but rather are implemented in a collaborative framework with other health care professions that encourages the creation of public policies that reflect our vision of health promotion in Canada. The CCA has partnered with the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century, ThinkFirst, Osteoporosis Canada, etc., on a number of innovative projects. Moreover, the chiropractic profession has fostered and supported team-based clinical affiliations, notably at the National Spine Care program in Calgary, St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Mount Carmel Clinic in Winnipeg, and the Rosedale Medical Clinic in Hamilton. Patients benefit when health care providers are grouped together to offer the best practices available. These examples have clearly demonstrated the increase in patient satisfaction and savings in care when providers collaborate synergistically.
Moreover, our commitment to health equality has inspired the CCA, in association with local governments and communities, to support the provision of chiropractic services to Nunavut residents in an effort to move their health status closer to that of the general Canadian population. The proposed project, entirely funded by the CCA, will benefit the residents of Nunavut by offering an alternative, hands-on form of health care and treatment for neuromusculoskeletal complaints. As an example of our potential community engagement in Nunavut, the CCA was recently approached by ThinkFirst, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries, to collaborate on the implementation of injury prevention strategies for elementary-aged children in the north. Planning is well under way on this initiative.
The CCA also supports such advances as HealthForceOntario, allocating funds for health promotion for physicians within a primary contact care setting. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care aims to support a model of care that encompasses health promotion and disease prevention as well as treatment and disease management. In addition, the system accommodates a wide range of practice models, specifically team-based and interdisciplinary practices. We commend the Public Health Agency of Canada's recent release of Canada's new physical activity guidelines and the revised Canada food guide.
Such a paradigm shift towards health promotion must stem from efforts from all sectors, including regional, provincial-territorial, and federal governments, complemented by public and non-profit sectors.
The CCA recognizes that good health requires more than good health care and supports national public policies and initiatives that address the socio-economic determinants of health, such as early childhood development, poverty, education, and safe and affordable communities.
As Canadians, we must unite to support projects and enterprises that encourage health and well-being. Such an agenda should not be limited to population-based public health programs but extend also to individualized rewards for good choices through an array of governmental incentives. Notwithstanding, the provincial-territorial and federal governments must put forth incentives that aim to address the needs of patients, practitioners, and health care collaborative teams. Direct reinforcement for positive behaviour, in the form, for example, of the proposed adult fitness tax credit, would encourage Canadians to increase their level of physical activity. The children's fitness tax credit has also demonstrated the economic sensitivity of Canadians toward financial incentives.
Economic Benefits of an Adult Fitness Tax Credit, a study conducted by the Centre for Spatial Economics on behalf of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, concluded that it would only take three years for health care cost savings to be observed that were due to the increase in physical activity within the population. The amount of total savings resulting from improving a population's general health would far outweigh any loss in net personal tax incurred by the government.
Essentially, the CCA's mission is to help Canadians live healthier lives by informing the public about the benefits of chiropractic care, facilitating chiropractic research, and advocating for health care system reform, ensuring quality health care for all Canadians. Consequently, the CCA believes in a vision of every Canadian having full and equitable access to chiropractic care. Similarly, every Canadian should have access to the same opportunities to make positive behavioural choices that will allow them to be healthier individuals and in turn be exemplary role models for their families and communities.