The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has pledged to work closely with the new Liberal government and Justin Trudeau to follow through on the need for a national seniors strategy.
“I congratulate Justin Trudeau on his recent election win,” said CMA President Cindy Forbes. “This historic election campaign must now be followed by concrete action to build a national seniors strategy for Canada.”
The election campaign saw one of the most successful advocacy efforts ever conducted by the CMA to push for development of a national seniors strategy.
The CMA created a website, www.DemandAPlan.ca, which invited Canadians to show their support for the CMA’s call for a comprehensive seniors care plan from Canada’s political parties. The website also provided a “promise tracker” tool where visitors could compare the policy statements of the different parties.
“Thanks to a concerted effort on the part of the CMA and the more than 28,000 Canadians who joined our ‘Demand a Plan’ campaign, all the major parties talked about their plans for seniors in this year’s election campaign, and 3 of the 4 main parties presented detailed strategies,” said Forbes.
Of the more than 28,000 Canadians who signed up and took action on the site, many shared their personal stories and put pressure on local candidates to commit to supporting better seniors care in Canada. Over 3,000 Canadians sent almost 25,000 letters to candidates across the country, asking where they stood on a national seniors strategy.
“I was deeply impressed by the interest and the support of Canadians in the CMA’s work during this election campaign,” added Forbes.
CMA advocacy efforts continued right up until election day with the use of a social media tactic to have Canadians endorse the importance of seniors care in deciding how to vote.
In addition, the CMA’s MD-MP Contact Program has grown by more than 160 physicians this year, laying the groundwork for an ongoing, close relationship with members of Parliament in almost every riding in Canada.
Forbes said the CMA would continue to advocate for a seniors strategy and lobby the new government and the provinces to schedule a meeting to discuss the issue together.
“With the new reality, Canadians are looking for true leadership and collaboration to ensure that their health care system will be able to meet their needs now and into the future,” said Forbes.
In the election campaign, Trudeau wrote to the Premier of Quebec and pledged to keep a focus on health care issues such as wait times, the affordability of prescription drugs, availability of home care and community-based services, and coping with the aging population.
Trudeau also stated that his government would negotiate a new Health Accord with the provinces and territories.
“The end of the election is really only the beginning of the critical work needed to ensure that those elected follow through and honour the commitments they have made to Canadians,” said Forbes. “The CMA will continue to work with the over 28,000 Canadians who have supported our call for action and others as we seek to ensure that elderly Canadians get the care they need, when and where they need it.”