Mid-Election Check: Which Parties Are Supporting Perinatal Mental Health

Now that most parties have unveiled their platforms, it’s time to examine how each one plans to address perinatal mental health if elected. We are delighted to see perinatal mental health referenced in some way in each of the released party platforms (Liberal, NDP, Conservative, Bloc Quebecois)!

We want to thank each party for taking the time to read our Platform Proposal and in some cases for meeting with us to talk about what can be done to improve perinatal mental health care in Canada. As each party knows, we are an organization of passionate people with lived experience, clinicians, researchers, and health care providers who are all dedicated to seeing improved perinatal mental health services in Canada as soon as possible.

We look forward to working with any and all parties in making a National Perinatal Mental Health Strategy a reality! We’ve always said, perinatal mental health is an ** ALL-PARTY ** issue and it’s going to take everyone at the table to make the needed changes including universal screening and timely access to treatment.

Now, for more details on each platform:

The Liberal Party

The Liberal Party has promised to “work with partners to ensure timely access to perinatal mental health services.”

One of the challenges of asking for a National Perinatal Mental Health Strategy has been the need to balance the call for equal treatment of Canadians across all jurisdictions with provincial and territorial health care decision-making power.

The Liberal Party is attempting to address this challenge with a new federal transfer to provinces and territories called the Canada Mental Health Transfer, which will establish standards for timely, universal and culturally competent mental health care. Along with this is a promise of permanent, ongoing funding for mental health starting with $4.5 billion over 5 years, which they say will mean “more access to psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors, and other community supports.”

They’re also committing to implement a national three-digit mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline.

Read the full platform here: https://liberal.ca/our-platform/

The New Democrat Party

The NDP has directly committed to developing a National Perinatal Mental Health Strategy.

“We believe that no new parent should struggle alone – it’s time for a national perinatal mental health strategy to support growing families before and after birth.”

The NDP has vowed to expand pharmacare to make sure that it covers everyone. They have promised more broadly to include some currently privatized mental health services under the umbrella of Canada’s public system.

The NDP also promises to work with provinces and territories to tackle wait times and improve access to primary care across Canada.

“We’ll work with the provinces to develop public infrastructure for secure, accessible virtual healthcare.”

Read the full platform here: https://www.ndp.ca/better-care?focus=13934141&nothing=nothing

The Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has promised an arrangement with the provinces and territories whereby a portion of the Canada Health Transfer goes directly towards improving access to mental health services.

They plan to address mental health crisis through their Mental Health Action Plan.

The Conservative’s specific mention of the perinatal period is to “support maternal and newborn health and extend paid leave for women who suffer miscarriage or stillbirth.”

Read the full platform here: https://cpcassets.conservative.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/25132033/5ea53c19b2e3597.pdf

The Bloc Quebecois

There is no specific mention of perinatal or maternal mental health in the Bloc Quebecois platform, however, they do promise to “make sure women who are pregnant or nursing have the right to preventatively withdraw from the workplace.”

They also want to increase health transfer payments to Quebec from the federal government by 35%.

Read the full platform here: https://www.blocquebecois.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/blocqc-Plateforme-2021-planche.pdf

The Green Party

“The Green Party of Canada believes that we must establish a National Mental Health Strategy. An evidence-based and culturally appropriate suicide prevention strategy must be adopted to address the alarming rates of suicide, particularly in Indigenous communities.”

Read the full Green Party platform here: https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform

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