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Word from West: Make seniors strategy election issue now

Vancouver, (Sept. 29, 2015) – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and an impressive coalition of British Columbia-based health and social organizations have united to urge all federal parties to makes seniors care a priority and map out a possible national seniors strategy.

Representatives from a broad array of groups, including health, social and other organizations, spent Monday in Vancouver examining every aspect of health care affecting seniors, from housing to drug costs, and developing possible recommendations to whomever forms the next federal government after the Oct. 19 election.

A formal declaration from the stakeholders will be issued after the election.

The British Columbia Retired Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Association of Retired Teachers, the National Association of Federal Retirees and the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC worked with the CMA to unite the organizations in the call for federal leadership on seniors care.

Quick facts:

  • Canada is struggling to adapt to a rapidly aging population. If current trends continue, health care costs for Canadians over 65 will account for 62 per cent of budgets by 2036.
  • Quality seniors care affects more than those over 65. Canada now has an army of unpaid caregivers looking after loved ones because there isn’t sufficient home care and community support or enough long-term care facilities.
  • At most hospitals in Canada, at least 15 per cent of the acute care beds are taken up by chronic care patients – almost always seniors – waiting for transfer to a more appropriate care setting. The result is extended wait times for tests and surgeries and overcrowded hospitals.


“Our federal political parties can no longer ignore this issue,” said Regina Day, Health and Housing Chair, BC Retired Teachers. “We need leadership and we need it now at the federal level.”

“This is a real issue for BC seniors. We want a progressive national seniors plan that would maintain and enhance our pensions, maintain and improve our public health care system, provide affordable housing for all Canadians, and include a national pharmaceutical strategy,” said Lorraine Logan, President of the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC.

“This is not an issue that has an impact on merely a few people, this is national in scope and we need national leadership,” said JoAnn Lauber, President, Canadian Association of Retired Teachers.

"Federal retirees and all seniors in Canada – and their families – need the federal government to work with the provinces to renew the Health Accord and act on a national seniors strategy," said Reg Dawes, president of the Chilliwack branch of the National Association of Federal Retirees. "You know, our generation envisioned and helped build a publicly-funded, accessible and universal health care system; and we still believe in that vision, and that our health care system must continue to work across generations, at any stage of Canadians' lives."

“It’s high time our federal candidates take note that Canadians from coast to coast to coast want them to lay out their plan for building a national seniors strategy,” said Dr. Chris Simpson, CMA past president. “The clock is ticking.”

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.

The B.C. Retired Teachers' Association was incorporated as a Society in 1955 with its main objective "to guard the interests and to promote the welfare of its members. The mission of the BCRTA is the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of life for its members specifically and other seniors generally. The purpose of the BCRTA is to promote the interests of the members, to provide information and advice to members on retirement programmes and benefits, to communicate to members on the activities of the Association and issues of common interest, and to promote excellence in public education.