The federal government has created a new cabinet post for seniors, fulfilling one of the key recommendations in the CMA’s seniors care campaign.
Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi was appointed as the minister of seniors on July 18, as part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s latest cabinet shuffle.
This news represents a milestone for the CMA’s work on seniors care. “Having a voice at the Cabinet table is key to addressing seniors’ needs,” says Dr. Laurent Marcoux, CMA president.
The CMA has been active on the seniors file since 2013, calling for the creation of a national seniors strategy to improve care for Canada’s aging population.
Recognizing the challenges facing older patients and their families in accessing care, the CMA launched its public-facing campaign, Demand a Plan, on the eve of the 2015 federal election.
Dr. Chris Simpson was CMA president during that time.
“When I was president, I often said if we can fix the way we care for seniors, it will go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong with the health care system,” explains Dr. Simpson.
“I see this [new minister] as a very, very positive step toward the CMA’s goal, which is a national seniors strategy.”
Today, Demand a Plan has 65,000 supporters who have sent more than 180,000 letters to their Members of Parliament and other elected officials to advocate for specific recommendations, including the creation of a federal minister responsible for seniors.
Not a member yet? Join the 65,000 Canadians who are already part of Demand a Plan.
In a statement from Trudeau’s office, the new minister is expected to “better understand the needs of Canadian seniors and ensure that programs and services are developed that respond to Canada’s aging population.” There is no word yet on Minister Tassi’s official mandate letter.
“The government has taken a positive step towards improving the lives of seniors, their families and Canadians,” adds Dr. Marcoux. “We look forward to working with Minister Tassi to ensure that programs and services are developed to address the needs of our aging population.”
Timeline: The CMA’s work on seniors care
- August – CMA General Council adopts the following resolution: “The CMA will advocate for a pan-Canadian strategy to support the care of seniors that is based on the Principles to Guide Health Care Transformation in Canada”
- December – The CMA releases its policy summary, Health and Health Care for an Aging Population
- August – The CMA’s shares its pre-budget submission with the Standing Committee on Finance, Improving Seniors Care in an Era of Surplus
- March – Demand a Plan is launched
- August – The CMA releases its Policy Framework to Guide a National Seniors Strategy for Canada
- September – The CMA commissions the report Federal Policy Action to Support the Health Care Needs of Canada's Aging Population
- October – The CMA launches Our Health Care. Our Stories
- February – CMA President Dr. Cindy Forbes appears before the Standing Committee on Finance, recommending critical federal action in health and health care
- September – The CMA releases its report, The State of Seniors Health Care in Canada
- October – The CMA releases its platform for the new Health Accord, Improving the health of all Canadians: A vision for the future
- March – CMA President Dr. Granger Avery appears before the Senate Committee on National Finance to discuss the financial implications of Canada’s aging population
- May – MP Marc Serré’s private members motion M-106 in support of a National Seniors Strategy passes in the House of Commons. Serré thanks the CMA and Demand a Plan members
- October – CMA President Dr. Laurent Marcoux presents Advancing Inclusion and Quality of Life for Seniors to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Eight of the CMA’s recommendations are adopted.
- June – Demand a Plan reaches 65,000 supporters, sees more than 182,000 letters sent to MPs
- July – The CMA commissions research on Meeting the Care Needs of Canada’s Aging Population
- July – A new federal cabinet minister is announced for seniors