OTTAWA, March 22, 2016 — The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) welcomes the federal government’s reaffirmed commitment announced in today’s budget to move forward with a new multi-year Health Accord that would take into account Canada’s aging population.
“We’re pleased to see the federal government commit to taking a leadership role in health,” says Dr. Chris Simpson, past-president of the CMA. “Going forward, we hope the new Health Accord reflects the need for more community-based services, ensuring we improve care for seniors and for all Canadians.”
As part of its pre-budget push, the CMA made seven recommendations aimed at boosting federal leadership in health care to meet the growing and complex needs of Canada’s aging population.
These recommendations focused on:
- Supporting the provinces and territories in meeting the care needs of an aging population;
- Expanding capacity of the continuing care sector; and
- Cutting prescription drug costs.
All of the CMA’s recommendations were highlighted in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance report to the government released mid-March.
Delivering immediate financial support to Canada’s unpaid informal caregivers was among these recommendations. There is little support today for the over 8 million Canadians who are providing care to a family member or friend.
“The time is now to support the needs of our senior population and the struggling family members and friends who care for them,” says Dr. Simpson. “Despite their tremendous value, they’re largely unrecognized. Financial support for informal caregivers must be a key federal measure to supporting care in the community.”
The CMA looks forward to continued federal engagement and collaboration as talks with the provinces and territories move forward on the development of a new Health Accord.
Further budget measures that the CMA was pleased to see included:
- Concrete measures to address the social and economic determinants of health, such as the tax-free child benefit and re-instating of the retirement age for Old Age Security to 65 years;
- New measures to support the health of Indigenous Peoples and other groups under federal jurisdiction, including veterans;
- A commitment to take action with local governments on greenhouse gases;
- Increased funding for research, specifically for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research;
- Investments in Canada Health Infoway to support digital health; and
- Funding to improve immunization coverage rates.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 83,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care.