About the Citizens’ Reference Panel on Health Services

Learn more and join the health care debate

Canadians rely on the province’s health system to get the care they need. However, spending on health care has grown rapidly over the past decade. In Ontario alone, the province’s government spends nearly half of its budget on health care programs and services.

Many other provinces face significant budget deficits which places additional pressures on the health system. There is a growing demand from health care professionals—and the public—to re-examine how provinces fund the health care system, provide access to care, promote healthy behaviours and will address the challenges of an aging population and prevalence of chronic diseases.

At PwC, we believe an issue this important requires feedback from the citizens and experts who use the health care system’s services. That’s why we’ve sponsored The Citizens’ Reference Panel on Health Services in Ontario to offer a platform where Ontario residents and health professionals can share their perspectives and provide insight on their proposed recommendations towards sustainable health care.


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What is the Citizens’ Reference Panel?

To hear perspectives on the future sustainability of Ontario’s health care system, we didn’t just want to conduct another public opinion poll. We engaged MASS LBP, a Canadian organization dedicated to facilitating innovative public engagements, to convene a citizens’ reference panel. The purpose of this approach is to help inform the thinking of the government, policy makers and health care providers by providing insight into citizens’ attitudes and views on how we can build a more sustainable and cost-effective health care system in Ontario.

The panel consists of 28 randomly-selected residents, one male and one female from each of Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). Over three weekends from April to June 2011, the panel will meet to:

  • Learn about the province’s health system
  • Understand the issues and challenges and
  • Develop recommendations to help ensure the sustainability of high-quality, accessible and publicly funded health care for all Ontarians.

Click on the image to learn what happens each weekend.

What is the process?

After the weekend deliberations, the panel will present a series of recommendations to government, policy makers and health care providers that gives a clearer sense of Ontario citizens’ health priorities. The findings will be released in summer 2011.

Click the image for an image displaying what happens during the weekend deliberations.

Who’s involved?

The Citizens’ Reference Panel members

The panel consists of 28 randomly-selected residents—one male and one female—from each of the 14 LHINs. They will hear from a wide range of experts and practitioners and work in small, facilitated group sessions to learn about the health care system and possible reforms. The panel will produce and ratify a common set of recommendations as well as a vision for future health services and investment.

Current and former members of the province’s medical community (including professional health associations, unions and health services administrators) and currently elected municipal, provincial and federal representatives are ineligible to participate.

Read the Citizens’ Reference Panel Civic Lottery Package for more information.

The Advisory Board

The panel’s advisory board includes several leading Ontario doctors, researchers and health executives. Their role is to oversee the process and ensure that it’s focused, balanced and fair. The board will review all aspects of the program and use their knowledge to make sure all reasonable perspectives are well represented to the citizens. They will also help to verify that the panel’s deliberations and recommendations correspond with viable public policies that decision makers could adopt.

Here are the advisory board members:

  • Barbara Pitts, Chair, Citizens’ Reference Panel on Ontario Health Services and Associate Partner, PwC
  • Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto (U of T)
  • Dr. Wendy Levinson, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
  • Margaret Mottershead, CEO, Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres
  • Dr. Michael Rachlis, MD, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, U of T
  • Dr. Judith Shamian, President and CEO of the Victorian Order of Nurses and President of the Canadian Nurses Association
  • Dr. Carolyn Tuohy, Professor of Political Science & Public Policy, U of T

Representing a wide range of experts and practitioners, the presenters will provide various perspectives on health services to further educate the panel to help them make their recommendations in the final report.

Want to follow the panel’s progress?

We will publish regular updates and outcomes from the Citizens’ Reference Panel to help you stay up-to-date on the process.

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