The Kidney Foundation of Canada takes a leadership role in advocating for policies and programs to meet the needs of people living with chronic renal insufficiency.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is the act of supporting or arguing in favor of a cause, policy or idea. Its goal is to influence public opinion and societal attitudes (e.g., by promoting organ donation) or to bring about changes to government, community or institutional policies, for instance, by advocating for the establishment of provincial renal planning committees.
Who can advocate?
Advocacy covers a broad range of activities that can include almost anyone:
- Self-Advocacy: the person who is directly affected by an issue or situation speaks up for him or herself and takes action to change it. The Kidney Foundation encourages individuals to act on their own behalf and plays a supporting role by providing information and suggestions for individual action.
- Individual Advocacy: An individual or organization acts with and for the person with the concern. The Kidney Foundation has a limited ability to take on individual cases. Fortunately, most renal programs have nephrology social workers as part of the renal team. Part of their role is to advocate on behalf of patients to ensure they have access to services for which they are eligible. Occasionally the Foundation may act on behalf of an individual if a positive outcome may set a precedent for resolving other similar situations.
- Group Advocacy: A group or organization or coalition of groups work together to seek changes to existing policy or to set new policy for a specific community or group of people. This is the type of advocacy the Kidney Foundation in most often involved in.
How can you get involved?
Patients, family members, renal professionals, Kidney Foundation volunteers and interested members of the community at large can all play a role in advocacy.
To find out about advocacy initiatives in your region, contact your local Kidney Foundation Branch.
Advocacy in Ontario
The Ontario Branch Government Relations Committee coordinates provincial advocacy activities and provides leadership and support to the Foundation to identify, respond to and influence public policy issues relevant to the mission of the Foundation and to people affected by kidney disease. Members include dialysis and transplant patients, family members, nephrologists, allied health professionals, Kidney Foundation volunteers and staff.
Our advocacy and government relations goals are:
- to inform and educate the public, government, politicians, and other organizations and agencies about the needs of people affected by kidney disease, and
- to influence the development of public policy to ensure that the needs are being met.
The Kidney Foundation in Ontario has produced many reports and submissions and fact sheets on a range of important issues. We advocated successfully for the expansion of dialysis facilities across the province and the establishment of both the Trillium Gift of Life Network and Ontario Renal Network. We also encourage and support individuals to advocate on their own behalf through the provision of workshops and links to other resources.
The Kidney Foundation works in partnership with the Ontario Renal Network (ORN), at both the local and provincial levels. ORN is the body that coordinates and integrates renal care across the province. Kidney Foundation representatives participate on many of the 14 LHIN-aligned ORN Regional Renal Program Steering Committees, bringing forward issues relevant to people with chronic kidney disease and the Foundation. Click here to read the Ontario Renal Networks new strategic plan.
Reducing the burden of kidney disease – Call to action, Provincial Election Tool Kit, June 2014
Patient & Family Centred Care, a submission to the Ontario Renal Network, Spring 2014
Patient Borne Costs, a submission to the Ontario Renal Network, Spring 2014
Letter re HST on Hospital Parking, a submission to the Tax Policy Branch, Federal Department of Finance (Feb 2014)