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Conference Board of Canada research shows need for national seniors strategy

Report shows “noticeable gaps” in seniors care across the country

Ottawa, ON (April 15, 2015) - Governments must work together to address the numerous challenges facing seniors and their care in Canada, according to a new report released today by The Conference Board of Canada.

The report – the most comprehensive examination of the current state of seniors care in Canada – presents the social and economic context of seniors’ health in Canada; notes measures that are being or can be implemented to help individuals remain independent for as long as possible; looks at the services currently available; and explores challenges to seniors' care programs.

Key findings:

  • As the demographic shift progresses, Canada’s health care services will be under additional strain to meet the care needs of its aging population.
  • The federal government could play a notable role in addressing the inconsistencies and inequalities that exist across the country, and our inability to meet the current needs of Canada’s seniors. Collaboration between federal, provincial and territorial governments, communities and key health stakeholders is required;
  • Factors contributing to gaps in seniors care include lack of funding for prioritized services, poor utilization of specialized programs, or unduly restricted access to or narrow eligibility for certain facilities;
  • Better collaboration between different parts of the continuum of care in each jurisdiction needed.

Quick facts:

  • In 2012, 461,000 Canadians were not getting the home care they thought they needed;
  • The average waiting for access to a long-term care facility in Canada ranged anywhere from 27 to over 230 days, depending on jurisdiction;
  • As little as 16% of Canadians requiring palliative care actually received it.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is leading the charge for Canada to have a national senior strategy built around the needs of the individuals and their families. Canada needs a national strategy that will put the patient at the centre and capture all elements of care, from health promotion, home and long-term care, hospital care and enhanced availability of palliative care.

To drive action on this critical issue, the CMA and an alliance of partner organizations have also launched 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.


“The Conference Board of Canada research is a clarion call to our nation’s policymakers and political leaders. Patients, families, health care professionals and countless volunteers have effectively put the system and its shortcomings on their backs as they struggle to overcome. It does not have to be this way.

“We need political leadership, beginning with the federal government and building in all other levels of government, to bring Canada’s health care system into the 21st Century. The facts are in and we can no longer afford the luxury of dithering in the face of this national challenge.”

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.