CMA, CARP challenge candidates to adopt National Seniors Care Strategy

CMA, CARP challenge candidates to adopt NationalSeniors Care Strategy
Open letter to federal by-election candidates

Ottawa, Toronto (June 27, 2014) —

A majority of the candidates but only two of the three major parties in Monday’s federal by-elections have committed to a National Seniors Care Strategy in response to the CMA-CARP Challenge.

The Canadian Medical Association and CARP came together to issue a challenge to all candidates in the four June 30federalby-elections to endorse or reject specific elements of a pan-Canadian seniors care strategy.The Seniors Care Challenge asks the candidates if they would endorse or reject 12 seniors care issues. Responses to the 12-point challenge are attached and posted on the two organizations’ websites were received from New Democrat and Liberal candidates and other parties but not from the Conservatives.

The questions to by-election candidates in the Ontario ridings of Trinity-Spadina and Scarborough-Agincourt and the Alberta ridings of MacLeod and Fort McMurray-Athabasca [attached and copied below] ask the candidates to endorse or reject [or pass on] 12 specific seniors’ care issues:

  1. Federal role in setting standards and funding
  2. Pharmacare to ensure affordable medication regardless of postal code
  3. Wait time benchmarks for home care and long term care
  4. Timely access to palliative care
  5. National Seniors’ Care Strategy with funding
  6. Caregiver support – financial, training and respite
  7. National Dementia Care Strategy
  8. Immediate national conversation on end of life care, choices, rights
  9. Tax breaks for long term care savings vehicle
  10. Integrated continuum of care
  11. Improved pension system
  12. Federal infrastructure funding for continuing care

“CARP members will be pleased that the majority of the candidates and two of the three major parties committed to the priority health advocacy issues for CARP members. However, they will be disappointed that the Conservatives declined to offer this simple commitment. These are ballot issues for our members,’’ said Susan Eng, Vice-President, Advocacy for CARP.

“The time for a seniors strategy for Canada’s aging society has come,’’CMA President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti. We are delighted this issue is finally turning up on political radar screens.”

Polling by the CMA and CARP in recent months has shown seniors health care to be a priority issue.ANanos Researchpollcommissioned by the CMA found on April 8 that aalmost 6 in 10 voters in key ridings across Canada said they would support another party if their current political brand fails to make seniors care a priority in the next federal election. CARP members polled consistently list health care as their top priority.

In the 2011 federal election 64% of those casting ballots were over the age of 55. CARP members say they always vote. They are among Canada’s most politically engaged voters.

TheCanadian 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 to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care

CARPis a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

For further information, please contact:
Lucie Boileau
CMA Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266
Sarah Park
CARP Media Relations, Policy Researcher and Coordinator
Tel,: 416-607-2471
Cell: 416-569-0981
Questions to all Candidates in the Federal By-elections in the Ontario ridings of Trinity-Spadina and Scarborough-Agincourt and the Alberta ridings of MacLeod and Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
Do youendorseorreject[orpasson answering] the following policy positions?
  1. The federal government must play a role in ensuring national standards, benchmarks, and funding for access to high quality healthcare.
  2. There should be a National Pharmacare program to ensure that all Canadians have equal access to affordable drugs regardless of where they live in Canada or their income level.
  3. The federal government should work with provinces and territories to establish wait time guarantees for home and community based care, including long term care and federal health funding should be earmarked for meeting such guarantees.
  4. All Canadians should have timely access to high quality palliative care regardless of where they live in Canada. Today, only 30% of Canadians had access to palliative care when they needed it.
  5. There should be a National Seniors’ Care Strategy with benchmarks and funding that specifically addresses the health care and social service needs to prepare for the demographic shift ahead.
  6. Canada’s 8 million family caregivers should have comprehensive support that replaces lost income and provides training and respite services.
  7. There should be a National Dementia Care Strategy that will provide immediate support, resources and training for the 750,000 Canadians who have dementia and 1-in-10 Canadians who are caring for someone with dementia.
  8. Canadians must be engaged now, in a national conversation on end of life care, choices, and patients’ rights.
  9. There should be a new tax-incentivized savings vehicle for continuing care to encourage Canadians to pre-save for their future care needs.
  10. There should be an integrated continuum of healthcare that starts with prevention and follows patients from first diagnosis or acute episode, through initial treatment, ongoing care, and through to end of life needs.
  11. Canada’s pension system should be improved to ensure that every Canadian senior will have an adequate retirement income.
  12. The federal infrastructure investment program should allow provincial/territorial investment in continuing care infrastructure.

Click here to see which candidates supported, rejected, passed or did not respond for the CARP-CMA challenge.