Canadian Medical Association

Time for federal action on seniors care, CMA tells seniors ministers in Charlottetown

Ottawa, ON – May 22, 2019 – As the number of aging Canadians grows, so do our worries about being able to get the health care we need. The findings from a national Ipsos survey released today tell a startling tale of Canadians significantly concerned about the state of our health care system. With the youngest Baby Boomers now reaching the age of 55, a significant portion believe they’ll need to delay retirement to afford the health care services they need.

Today, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is in Charlottetown, where federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for seniors are meeting to discuss issues affecting older Canadians. The CMA is on-site with provincial medical associations from the region to brief ministers on the state of seniors care in Canada, sharing views from the front lines and a pan-Canadian perspective.

What we know:

  • The number of seniors is expected to exceed the number of children aged 14 and under for the first time ever in Canada by 2021 (source: Statistics Canada)
  • Nine in 10 (88%) Canadians say they’re worried about the growing number of seniors requiring more health care (source: Ipsos 2019)
  • Six in 10 (58%) believe that Canadians will have to delay their retirement to afford their health care
  • Baby boomers believe that a failure to improve the health system will result in them having to pay more out-of-pocket for health care and more taxes
  • In 2018, Canadian caregivers and care receivers had to spend more than $9B out-of-pocket to care for their loved ones, a number that’s expected to continue to rise
  • When it comes to how Canadians feel about the future of health care, negative emotions (62%) far outweigh positive (38%), with nervous (22%), afraid (21%) and distressed (18%) topping the list (source: Ipsos 2019)
  • Concerns on health care could sway voting behaviour this election, with Canadians 55 and over more likely to say they’ll vote for the party they think has the best plan for the future of health care (source: Ipsos 2019)

“Meeting the health care needs of our aging population is a nationwide issue, with seniors across the country having to pay more out of their own pockets for the care they need,” said CMA President Dr. Gigi Osler. “What we’re seeing today reflects the limitations of seniors care, and we can – and must – do better.”

In Charlottetown, the CMA is advocating for new federal investments in seniors care both to help the provinces and territories better deliver services and to support individuals in affording the increased costs of care. As such, it is urging the federal government to top up the Canada Health Transfer, providing additional financial support to provinces with higher numbers of seniors. In addition, it is suggesting the creation of a seniors care benefit to provide direct financial support to seniors and caregivers.