Youth have a right to be informed and included in their health care.
In 2015, the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH) identified a glaring gap in the knowledge of Canadian youth about their health rights and how to exercise them. Young people told us that they didn’t know how their access to health care was protected under the law, how this access varied across the country, and what they could do to advocate for improvements to ensure that our health system is responsive to the evolving needs of young Canadians. These gaps drove us to launch the Health Rights and Responsibilities Project.
In collaboration with AstraZeneca Canada’s Young Health Program (YHP), the YCRH has been educating, motivating and supporting other young people to advocate for change in areas of deficiency or inequity both at home and across Canada. But there’s still more that needs to be done.
Guided by findings from a research report in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics, we held focus groups with young people across the country. They told us not only about barriers to services, but also about the challenges many young people face in accessing information about their rights. And in our recent survey of 141 youth across Canada, young people told us they are struggling to be informed, and struggling to access the health care they need. Some key findings:
- 80% agreed that they did not know their legal health rights.
- 89% said that time barriers (clinic hours, availability of family doctor, wait times etc.) hindered them from accessing services.
- 56% felt it is a priority to have better access to mental health services.
- 54% wanted better access to information and services for youth specifically.
Not enough young people feel empowered to be participants in their own health, or to take action for better health. We are hoping that through this platform we can begin to bridge these gaps.
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ABOUT THE YCRH
The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health strives to make Canada the healthiest place for youth to live. By able to drive meaningful change in the best interests of young people. The YCRH was founded in 2013 with the support of The Sandbox Project. Today, our Roundtable is made up of approximately 30 youth between the ages of 15 and 30 from across the country. Each individual provides a unique perspective based on their geographic location, educational background, and lived experiences.
About the Young Health Program
AstraZeneca Canada’s Young Health Program is a national community-investment initiative that aims to improve the health of Canada’s young people. YHP Canada is part of a larger global, long-term investment, founded in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Plan International. The program aims to improve adolescent health and aid in the primary prevention of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory disease. YHP has developed relationships with a number of leading Canadian organizations to co-create and deliver community engagement and advocacy activities that help make a difference in the lives of youth.