Recent national survey commissioned by HEAL shows widespread support for measures aimed at dealing with Canada’s aging population.
(OTTAWA – March 22, 2019) Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) is reacting positively to the tabling of the 2019 Federal Budget, as much of its content is in line with HEAL’s policy asks, including new investments in seniors care, mental health and in measures to counter the opioid crisis.
While a focus on seniors is welcome, HEAL plans to continue pressing the federal government to invest in important seniors’ care measures that were not contained in Budget 2019, such as greater funding for home-based care across the country, and the introduction of a demographic top up for provinces which have a higher percentage of seniors.
Last fall, HEAL released the initial findings of a new Abacus Data survey related to healthcare. The poll, which surveyed 1,650 adults from across Canada, found that 7 out 10 Canadians felt that the federal government should make investing in and optimizing Canada’s health care system to respond to its aging population a top or very high priority.
Today, HEAL is releasing more data of that survey, as it relates to the Budget 2019.
When asked if they would support the expansion of community and home-based health and active aging programs across the country, 82 % said yes.
By region, support ranged from a high of 85% in British Columbia to 78% in the Atlantic provinces.
By age range, 95% of those in the 60 and over group answered they were in favour, and support from those in the 18 to 29 age group was also surprisingly high at 73%.
By party, support was strong across the board regardless of party affiliation. While 83% of respondents identifying as Liberals were supportive of the above statement, 84% of Conservative respondents and 82% of NDP respondents said the same.
“Regardless of how you look at it – by region, age, party affiliation – there is overwhelming public support for a variety of measures aimed at addressing Canada’s aging population challenges,” said Ondina Love, HEAL Co-Chair.
“We are encouraged to see that the federal government has listened to our members and considered our Canadian Way 2.0 consensus statement; and as a result, will be investing further in seniors’ care,” said Love.
“However, greater investments in home care initiatives and other key seniors care measures, are still very much needed according to our members.”
The number of Canadians aged 85 and over is expected to triple over the next 20 years from 700,000 to 2.1 million.
“Clearly, investing in seniors’ care is not – and should not – be a partisan issue. We, therefore, look forward to working with all of the federal parties to ensure that each of their electoral platforms includes robust support for a variety of investments in seniors’ care,” said François Couillard, HEAL Co-Chair.
In addition to seniors’ care, HEAL will also keep advocating for the adoption of the mental health parity principal, as detailed in its Canadian Way 2.0, to ensure that mental health care is integrated into primary health care and covered by provincial and territorial health insurance plans.
Healthcare highlights of Budget 2019
Budget 2019 announces the Government’s intention to move forward on three foundational elements of national pharmacare: the creation of a Canadian Drug Agency; the development of a national formulary; and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
$50 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to support the implementation of Canada’s first National Dementia Strategy.
Additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million per year ongoing, for the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
$35 million in 2019–20 to ensure the Assisted Living Program continues to help meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in Indigenous communities.
An additional $8.5 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to work with First Nations and Inuit communities on developing a new and more holistic long-term care strategy.
$25 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing, to work with experienced and dedicated partners in the space to support a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service.
$50 million over 10 years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing, to support ITK’s Inuit-specific approach through the Strategy to address deaths by suicide in Inuit communities.
Additional funding of $30.5 million over five years to support efforts to expand access to a safe supply of prescription opioids, protecting people with problematic opioid use from the risks of overdose and death
The Canadian Way: HEAL’s health policy consensus statement
In 2016, HEAL published its first consensus statement, The Canadian Way – Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, following more than two years of research, review, and reflection.
HEAL’s The Canadian Way 2.0 statement moves the conversation forward, adding additional recommendations on the two areas of priority identified by our members in 2018: Seniors’ care (across the health care system continuum, including home care), and Mental health services.
HEAL, Organizations for Health Action is a coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive. Our members are professional associations of regulated health care providers and organizations of health charities that provide a range of health care services across Canada. HEAL now represents more than 650,000 providers (and consumers) of health care, in over 20 different health care professions.
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