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Social Accountability Working Group

What we do

About the working group

Social accountability refers to the obligation of family medicine to meet the priority health care needs of Canada’s neighbourhoods, communities, regions, and provinces. It goes beyond the direct care family physicians provide to individual patients. It includes working with policy-makers, academic institutions, and communities, to translate a vision of a socially accountable health care system into evidence-based quality care. For care to be socially accountable, it must be equitably accessible to everyone and responsive to patients and community health care needs.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is committed to meeting the evolving health care needs of all communities and advocating for equitable health outcomes for vulnerable groups, as highlighted in the CFPC’s 2017–2022 Strategic Plan. The purpose of the Social Accountability Working Group (SAWG) is to advise the CFPC on how it should be involved in social accountability initiatives and to explore the needs, opportunities, and barriers, related to social accountability in family medicine and family practice.

CFPC Strategic Plan 2017–2022

Who we are



Dr. Anne Andermann, Quebec


Dr. Alex G. Anawati, Ontario

Prof. Robert Woollard, British Columbia

Ms. Kristiina E. Frechette, Section of Medical Students representative, Ontario

Ms. Holly Whitaker, Section of Residents representative, Ontario

Community members (two), vacant

College of Family Physicians of Canada staff

Arlen Keen, Manager, Health Policy and Government Relations

Artem Safarov, Director, Health Policy and Government Relations

Cynthia Black, Health Policy Analyst, Health Policy and Government Relations


Social Accountability Working Group (SAWG) Terms of Reference

The CFPC Social Justice Lens: a tool created by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) to help its committees, working groups, and departments apply the principles of social accountability and social equity to their work; although most practices in family medicine already practise social justice, this tool aims to make these connections even more explicit and ensures work at the organizational level is bound by these principles

Best Advice Guide: Social Determinants of Health: a practical guide that provides family physicians with concrete steps on how to consider and improve patients’ social determinants of health; provides a background on the social determinants of health, including a practical component with suggested clinical, community-level, and population-level interventions

Best Advice Guide (Quick Reference): Social determinants of health recommendations: one-page documents that offer micro-, meso-, and macro-level recommendations to address the social determinant of health, prepared by the SAWG

Innovation in Primary Care: Caring for Unattached and Marginalized Patients 2018

A New Vision for Canada: Family Practice—The Patient’s Medical Home 2019

Patient’s Medical Home Implementation Kit – Ontario 2019

Patient's Medical Home Implementation Kit – Québec 2019 (available in French only)

Best Advice Guide: Patient's Medical Neighbourhood 2020

Patient’s Medical Neighbourhood Implementation Kit – Ontario 2021

Patient's Medical Neighborhood Implementation Kit – Quebec 2021

The Value of Socially Accountable Care: Investing in primary health care that supports pandemic recovery, promotes health equity, and improves health outcomes

Canadian Family Physician

Meili R, Buchman S. Social accountability: at the heart of family medicine. Can Fam Physician. 2013;59(4):335-336.

Buchman S, Woollard R, Meili R, Goel R. Practising social accountability: From theory to action. Can Fam Physician. 2016;62(1):15-18.

Goel R, Buchman S, Meili R, Woollard R. Social accountability at the micro level: One patient at a time. Can Fam Physician. 2016;62(4):287-290.

Woollard R, Buchman S, Meili R, Strasser R, Alexander I, Goel R. Social accountability at the meso level: Into the community. Can Fam Physician. 2016;62(7):538-540.

Meili R, Buchman S, Goel R, Woollard R. Social accountability at the macro level: Framing the big picture. Can Fam Physician. 2016;62(10):785-788.

Dubé T, Sebbani M, Van Maele L, Beaulieu MD. COVID-19 pandemic: New avenues for social accountability in health research. Can Fam Physician. 2021;67(12):886-888.

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