Each month, we profile a special member of our community: a student, alumni, faculty member, or partner. Check out this month’s inspiring story below.
Government Relations and Policy Analyst
As the government relations lead for HealthCareCAN, I work within the Research and Policy team and with the broader HealthCareCAN team to advocate for health system changes at the federal level on behalf of our member hospitals, research institutes, health authorities and healthcare organizations. This involves working with our members, including through committees, meetings, and roundtable discussions, to identify priority areas and develop solutions to the challenges the health system is facing. I then translate these solutions into concrete actions the federal government can take to improve healthcare that will resonate with ministers, parliamentarians, government officials, and department staff. The focus then becomes finding ways to influence government decision-making, which ranges from securing meetings with ministers, parliamentarians, and government staff, to making submissions to studies conducted by standing committees, to participating in government roundtables and national dialogues.
Doing this work involves staying informed on the priorities and efforts of governments and other organizations involved in the health sector. It also requires paying close attention to the issues that are playing out in the broader healthcare, political and societal contexts. This ensures that we are best advocating for our members by anticipating the issues the health system will be dealing with, identifying the actions governments can take to tackle these challenges, and presenting the federal government with solutions to address their most pressing concerns.
My background in business and law – I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing and a law degree – coupled with my experience in health law and policy in both law firm and membership organization settings, provides me with a great mix of skills and experience that are vital to the work I do. The blend of business and financial understanding, creative and human behaviour components of marketing, and analytical and advocacy skills from law help me come at an issue from many angles and leverage aspects of each of these different skills to create persuasive messages that connect with government.
In recent years, especially with the pandemic, voices in the health sector have coalesced around the challenges our health system is facing – the health human resources shortage, the need to support better aging and older adult care, the lack of mental health and substance use care services, outdated infrastructure, and the necessity of investing in research and innovation for Canada’s future. This is a bright spot in a what continues to be a challenging time for healthcare and Canada during the pandemic, and with it we have seen the public and governments at all levels become seized with this issue, perhaps like never before. This has helped healthcare in general, and HealthCareCAN more specifically, break through a crowded arena of national issues and succeed in getting the federal government to take action to address the needs of the health system.
A Little More About Bianca:
What is something you have accomplished or worked on that you are proud of?
I’m proud of the work I have done since joining the organization in late 2020, with the support of the entire HealthCareCAN team and the expertise of our members, to focus our advocacy priorities and define concrete solutions for the federal government.
A recent advocacy win as a result of this work was having three of our recommendations endorsed by the Standing Committee on Science and Research in their report focused on the successes, challenges, and opportunities for science in Canada. They echoed our calls for the creation of a pan-Canadian health research data repository to centralize research data from across Canada, an evaluation of the federal research funding framework, and the need to reinvest in fundamental science – research to increase our scientific knowledge base.
The report was tabled in the House of Commons this spring and we will continue pushing for the recommendations to be adopted and implemented by the government when the House of Commons returns in September.
What are some of your favourite hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy reading (mostly fiction), listening to podcasts (from news to true crime to pop culture), walking and hiking the trails in and around Ottawa, and exploring the city’s neighbourhoods, restaurants, coffee shops and museums having moved to Ottawa in the last few years.