On 9 October 2002, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a ruling of a BC court that the BC government must not discriminate against a disabled and disadvantaged group when choosing what medical treatments it will fund. The Court of Appeal ordered the BC government to pay for a particular form of treatment. The case is significant in the context of HIV/AIDS because it could lend support to arguments that a government must make appropriate accommodation for the health-care needs of other disabled and marginalized groups--for example, safe injection supervision for the treatment of addiction.
A House of Commons committee says that current funding for the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS should be more than doubled. It calls for designated funding for inmates and First Nations and Inuit peoples, and for HIV vaccine research. Finally, it says that more federal government departments need to become involved in the response to AIDS.
As population health programs, environmental health services differ fundamentally from other forms of health service delivery. At a time when the health sector is striving for integration, the incorporation of these unique services into the delivery system presents a unique challenge to policy makers and administrators across the country. The University of Alberta recently completed a comprehensive review and redesign of locally governed and delivered environmental health protection services in Alberta. This paper outlines the key issues and unique features surrounding the delivery of environmental health services and presents the study team's suggested approach to addressing these issues.
Even if we do not have enough distance to comparatively evaluate the preventive actions against AIDS implemented in North America, a few remarks about the respective activities of governments and private sector can be made: Up to 1986, governments have had problems with targeting information campaigns as they were mainly dealing with risk groups and not with risk behaviours. Consequently the effectiveness of such national campaigns was very limited, as politicians had little enthusiasm to involve resources for marginal populations. Therefore, these populations had to try and organize themselves to find the information on AIDS and to disseminate it. This has been possible only in North American big cities where these groups already had an identity. Now that national consciousness has been raised, the role of health professionals is a key one, i.e. to protect the interests of these groups against the pressure of the general public which is reflected in national programmes.