Making Pain an Issue
Building and sustaining strong relationships with MPPs is a key component to an effective advocacy campaign. It is important to connect not only with your local MPP, but also the key decision-makers and influencers.
The Ontario government is currently lead by a Liberal minority. The government has outlined a number of healthcare priorities including a focus on improving access to primary care, patient-centred care, seniors and mental health and addictions. A minority government means it is important to connect not just with the government, but with MPPs who are members of the Opposition. In a minority parliament, no piece of legislation can move forward without support from at least one of the opposition parties.
As a part of an effective engagement strategy, you should:
- Engage with your local MPP
- Send a letter to the Minister of Health
- Send a letter to the Ministry of Health Opposition Critics
Make it Local, Make it Personal
Making connections with your local MPP is an effective way to make your issue heard and should be your first touch point. MPPs split their time between their constituencies and Queen’s Park and are very open to meeting with their constituents. Consider scheduling a meeting with your MPP in their constituency office.
When speaking to an MPP, remember to share your personal experiences with chronic pain - whether it is from the patient or caregiver perspective, it's important to use real life examples to show the impact.
Consider some of these suggestions to engage with your local MPP:
- Communicate with your MPP on an on-going basis. Send letters, newsletters and keep them informed on chronic pain information
- Make contact with your local MPP. Give their office a call and request a meeting or find out where their office is and stop by for a one-on-one chat
- ASK QUESTIONS! It is important that you find out where your MPP stands on the issues most important to you - i.e. developing a comprehensive pain strategy. You will find a list of potential questions in this toolkit
- Invite your MPP to your events or, host a neighbourhood coffee meet and greet.
- Attend events - MPPs usually post events on their website (town hall meeting)
How to find your local MPP:
- Find your Electoral District: http://fyed.elections.on.ca/fyed/en/form_page_en.jsp
Engaging with Government
In addition to contacting your local MPP, you should also consider writing a letter to the Minister of Health. It is important to communicate your issue to her in a way that will resonate with the government’s current priorities. The government has outlined a number of healthcare priorities including a focus on:
- access to primary care
- patient-centred care
- seniors strategy
- mental health and addictions strategy
Where possible, explain how a focus on chronic pain ties into these priorities. Learn more about the government’s priorities on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website.
Contact information for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care:
Hon. Deb Matthews
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
80 Grosvenor St
Toronto ON M7A2C4
Engaging with the Opposition Parties
Each Opposition party has a designated MPP (referred to as a “Critic”) responsible for each government portfolio, including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. An effective advocacy campaign should engage with the relevant opposition critics.
In addition to writing a letter to the Minister of Health, consider writing a letter to the following Critics for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care:
Progressive Conservative Health Critic
Room 436, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
NDP Health Critic
Room 186, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5