COVID-19 Has Exposed How We Fail Older Canadians.

Ottawa Parliament

C.A.R.P. says, Here’s What Needs to Change, Now.


COVID-19 (2020/21) shone a light on the myriad faults in our systems and the consequent devastating impact on the vulnerable older Canadians, who have spent a lifetime contributing to their communities and to the economy.  


In December 2021, C.A.R.P reached out to various federal ministers and the Prime Minister. “C.A.R.P. wants action now. The needs are immediate. We are adamant in demanding speedy improvements in the interest of greater security, a better quality of life, and better access to innovative health care for older Canadians.”, said Bill VanGorder, C.A.R.P. Chief Operating Officer.


  • Home and Community Care 


Context: The federal government has made long-term institutional care (LTIC) and home and community care a priority, committing funds to the provinces to assist them in addressing immediate needs, as well as providing training and support for essential workers.  But across Canada and within provinces, there remain gross inequities in services, facilities, and standards of care. 


C.A.R.P.’s demands of government:

  • Take immediate steps to increase funding for home and community care, eliminate the tax on family funded home care, work with the provinces to improve access, and attract qualified personnel to home and community care. 


  • Long-term institutional care facilities 


Context: During the first wave of the pandemic, 80% of all reported COVID-19 deaths were linked to LTIC facilities. The federal government is responsible for setting national principles under the Canada Health Act and has committed to developing new National Long-Term Care Service Standards, set to be finalized in 2022.


C.A.R.P.’s demands of government: 

  • LTIC must be reimagined and recreated with an innovative, emotion-based model of care with smaller, homelike environments and well trained and supported staff who are empowered to care for the residents with compassion and that all-important ‘human touch.’
  • Financial support provided by the government in support of aging with dignity should be tied to the adoption of federal and provincial standards of care that are evidence-based, monitored, and evaluated.
  • Access to innovative care


Context: As health problems rise with age, older Canadians depend on access to new medicines. Government policies that have the potential to impact this access, such as the PMPRB regulations, are unacceptable.


C.A.R.P.’s demands of government:

  • Improve access to the best available health innovations with a balanced approach to competitive pricing. Avoid putting complex regulations in place that create price uncertainty and discourage innovative medicines and vaccines from coming to Canada.
  • Repeal the PMPRB regulations and find alternative approaches to obtaining lower prices for new medicines.
  • Health system readiness


Context: the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed multiple long-standing problems with Canada’s health care system and created new ones. 


C.A.R.P.’s demands of government: 

  • In order to address the fallout of underinvestment and poor allocation of resources in our health care system, the federal government should increase its share of health care costs from 22% to 35% of total health care spending and maintain this contribution level over time with a minimum annual escalator of 5%. 
  • Protect Financial Security


Context: Most older Canadians have fixed incomes but face rising costs, growing inflation, an unpredictable economy and retirement savings that suffer as a result. 


C.A.R.P.’s demands of government: 

  • For all seniors aged 65 and over: the Federal Government must increase Old Age Security (OAS) by 10% and increase the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Survivor Benefit by 25%. 
  • Eliminate mandatory Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) withdrawals, so seniors do not deplete their nest eggs. 
  • Protect pensioners by amending the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to give pensioners ‘super-priority’ status and by creating a pension insurance program that insures 100% of pension liabilities.  
  • Improve investor protections by making the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) the single, unified and binding dispute resolution body for banking and investment services.


Read our letters to government officials (link here)