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Throne Speech: Resolve to make lung health a priority gives us hope

The Canadian Lung Association is encouraged with the federal government’s continued, strengthened commitment to the lung health of Canadians, as expressed in the Throne Speech.The government's expressed focus on lung health, the emphasis on access to medications and efforts to address the climate crisis are key steps towards ensuring Canadians can live healthy lives.

“To echo Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, this is all about people. About Canadians who are struggling to breathe as a result of air pollution or chronic lung diseases they cannot properly manage due to high costs of medications,” says Terry Dean, President and CEO of The Canadian Lung Association.

“Canadians with chronic diseases are burdened with the high costs of medications needed to manage their illnesses. In the federal government’s 2019 Budget, the first steps were put in place in moving toward national pharmacare and we are happy to see this resolve was re-emphasized yesterday.”

One in five Canadians report having difficulty paying for prescription medications because they have no coverage and one in 10 Canadians have difficulty paying for prescription medications even when they have health benefits coverage1.

The Canadian Lung Association was also pleased to see a strong attention to addressing the climate crisis. “Strong action through decisive policies can create the meaningful change needed to effectively halt the damage being done.”

Canadians are already facing the health and financial burden of the climate crisis through extreme weather, worsened lung conditions and poor quality of air. In fact, thousands of hospital visits and more than 14,000 premature deaths each year in Canada are attributable to air pollution2. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), an estimated 4.2 million people die each year because of air pollution. Of these deaths, 89% are related to respiratory illnesses2.

Finally, the decision to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy was a welcome announcement as businesses and charities alike struggle to operate at full capacity during the time of COVID-19.

We look forward to continuing to work with the government as they lay out detailed plans to achieve these aspirations. We also hope that these priorities will be reflected within the respective Ministers’ mandate letters, while not losing sight of other important areas, including the youth vaping epidemic. 




  1. Government of Canada. 2020. Health impacts from air pollution.