The CMA is recommending that the federal government develop a national seniors strategy built around the needs of individuals and their families. Canada needs a national strategy that will put the patient at the centre of the system and capture all elements of care, from health promotion to home and long-term care, hospital care, and enhanced availability of palliative care. While positive, the health-specific measures announced today fall far short of a national strategy:
- Extending the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits period from the current six weeks to six months;
- Introduction of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors and persons with disabilities to help with the costs of renovating their homes to ensure they are safe, secure and accessible;
- Up to $ 42 million over 5 years to help establish the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation;
- Renewing the mandate of the Mental Health Commission of Canada for another 10 years, beginning in 2017–18;
- Providing $14 million over two years for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement to evaluate and disseminate data about best practices with respect to palliative care services.
The CMA is leading the charge on a multi-year, multi-faceted seniors strategy to drive action on the critical issue of seniors care. The CMA and an alliance of partner organizations have also launched www.DemandAPlan.ca. This is the website of the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy where the public can add their voice to the call for a National Seniors Strategy. By doing so, Canadians will be part of the movement that will help bring about the change we need.