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Expert Task Force on Aging adds voice to urgent calls for national seniors strategy

Ottawa (Oct. 7, 2015) — Following an extensive research and consultation process, an expert task force of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) has called for a seniors strategy that is truly national in scope.

“This is yet one more piece of compelling evidence proving that Canada urgently needs a national seniors strategy,” Dr. Cindy Forbes, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), said today.

“After consulting with experts across the country, the expert task force is unequivocal in the position that the need for a national seniors strategy is as real as it is pressing, and that only the federal government can lead this effort, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction,” she added.

As the IRPP initiative aligned with established policy priorities, the CMA was pleased to support the work of the Task Force on Aging – a project coming out of its multi-year research program on the policy challenges related to an aging population.

The task force was struck to lead a consultation process in developing an evidence-based agenda for policy decision-makers, as articulated in its final report Designing a National Seniors Strategy for Canada.

The recommendations range from ensuring demographic structure is accounted for in the Canada Health Transfer to expanding the eligibility of the Canada Caregiver tax credit and ensuring Canadians have access to the medication they need.

“The CMA encourages our political leaders to carefully contemplate the work of this expert task force in thinking beyond this election campaign. We continue to challenge all political leaders to commit to a national seniors strategy,” Dr. Forbes said.

“Now in the second half of the federal election campaign, we’re pleased that party leaders have turned their attention to issues that matter to the day-to-day lives of Canadians – health care and seniors care. While I’m encouraged by the latest commitments, we need more than one-off announcements.”

The IRPP taskforce report includes over 30 concrete recommendations, organized around the following key goals:

  • Ensure older Canadians remain independent and engaged members of our communities for as long as possible;
  • Ensure older Canadians continue to lead healthy and active lives for as long as possible;
  • Ensure older Canadians have access to person-centred, high-quality, integrated care as close to home as possible, provided by those who have the knowledge and skills to care for them.;

Ensure that the family members and friends of older Canadians who provide unpaid care for their loved ones are acknowledged and supported.

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.