[This article was originally published in HealthcarePapers, Volume 7, Number 1.]

Wait times and the wait times agenda are on the Canadian schedule. Although most Canadians support our healthcare system, they are concerned about access. Resolving the wait times agenda might help increase Canadian confidence in the system's ability to provide timely access to care. While the paper by Trypuc, MacLeod and Hudson demonstrates well how quickly governments can mobilize tools and resources to address pressing policy needs, it also reveals the limited and narrow approach taken by governments to the wait times agenda. The Ontario government should recognize that a more integrated and comprehensive approach can significantly advance the wait times agenda and make the system more accountable. Only a broad-based approach will ultimately succeed in reducing wait times and building a sustainable system. A shift in values needs to take place away from the current emphasis on acute care and toward an inclusive vision of home- and community-based care that puts more emphasis on disease management, chronic care and independent living, if there is ever to be any real progress in the battle. Governments will ultimately be held accountable by Canadian healthcare consumers if they fail to make this important shift.