It’s no surprise that Canada has an aging population, but it is surprising how unprepared our health system is for it. Where you live in Canada and your access to funds greatly determine what type of care you and your loved ones can receive. Wait times for long-term care differ dramatically as do home care services and access to palliative or hospice care. Eligibility criteria and out-of-pocket expenses borne by residents all fluctuate.
The Federal government is responsible for ensuring all people in Canada have access to public health care. Unfortunately seniors care often falls outside of public health care which only covers “medically necessary services” (hospital and physician services). Therefore much of seniors care has been privatized and differs dramatically from one province/territory to another. It is clear that not everyone is getting the care they need. People across the country need access to the continuum of care so they may age with dignity.
Most Canadians will rely on seniors care at some point in their lives. Our public health care system is currently ill-equipped to address the health care needs of the aging population. We need a National Strategy to ensure that all seniors can access quality care, regardless of where they live in Canada. We must take action now to ensure consistent funding, standards of care and staffing levels across the country. All Canadians deserve to age with dignity and respect.
The CHC is calling for:
A National Seniors Care Strategy to establish consistent funding, standards of care and staffing levels across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. This strategy should include:
- Dedicated federal funding to the provinces and territories as part of the Canada Health Transfer.
- National Standards, developed in consultation with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments, as a condition of federal funding to ensure consistent levels of seniors care across Canada.
- And a Human Resources Strategy to guarantee a skilled seniors care workforce as well as decent working conditions for care workers.
- One of the simplest ways of moving this issue forward is to start a discussion about seniors care.
- Stories are a powerful tool to ensure that we do not take our public health care system for granted. Take part in our on-line story booth by sharing with us your experience with seniors care.
- Ensuring Quality Care For All Seniors: Policy Paper (Canadian Health Coalition, 2018)
- Building a continuum of care: The time is now (Canadian Health Coalition, 2010)