Boost in savings mechanisms, extending caregiver leave “good start, but seniors need a comprehensive plan”
The 2015 federal budget released today includes some positive measures in terms of health, but not the strategic planning and vision that will be required to meet the needs of Canada’s aging population, according to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
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.
“Today’s budget really just nibbles around the edges of the monumental challenge of how we are going to address the health care needs of our aging population. The measures unveiled today are a good start, but Canada’s seniors need a comprehensive plan. We need a strategic approach, directing concrete action, to bring Canada’s health care system into the 21st Century.”
“Over the next 20 years, the ratio of working-age Canadians for every senior is expected to go from about five today to 2.7. Canada needs economic and fiscal policies that support strong social policies, and today’s budget presented no comprehensive strategy to deal with this coming demographic shift.”
Dr. Chris Simpson
President, Canadian Medical Association
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 80,000 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.