Canadian Medical Association

Calls on the federal government to support the development and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

Ottawa, Ontario – July 25, 2018 – This week, CMA President Dr. Laurent Marcoux is in New York City for a meeting of the UN's Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, and to lend CMA's support to a new international convention on the human rights of older persons. This event represents the first time a CMA President has ever spoken at the UN. The CMA is part of a national consortium of experts who serve and advocate for the needs and rights of older people.

​​In a speaking opportunity on July 24, Dr. Marcoux reminded the audience that Canada is not alone in struggling to meet the needs of its aging population and that improving seniors care has been a priority for Canada's doctors for many years. He highlighted that various levels of government are beginning to recognize the need to prepare for the aging population, but more work needs to be done.

​The CMA also co-signed a letter sent to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland requesting that the federal government endorse the development and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. The convention would, among other goals, clarify the state's role in the protection of older persons, and support their commitment to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples, members of the LGBTQ community, and visible and religious minorities.

"Supporting such a declaration represents an opportunity to show leadership at the United Nations, but also domestically," says Dr. Marcoux. "It is time for our country to lead by example in improving the lives of older people in Canada."

"This is an issue that will affect us all at some point – seniors across the globe deserve a high quality of life," says Margaret Gillis, President, International Longevity Centre Canada. "We look forward to working with the CMA to ensure that the right to health for older people is protected."

The request comes on the heels of a new Conference Board of Canada report commissioned by the CMA that calls for an additional $21 billion from the federal government to help address an increase in health care spending over the next decade due to an aging population.