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Peter Watts: A National Seniors Strategy

Protestors outside the legislature called on the government to address the quality of seniors' care.
Protestors outside the legislature called on the government to address the quality of seniors' care. Adrian Raaber/Global News

There is a growing clamour across Canada for a strategy to deal with seniors’ care in this country.

We have an aging population dominated by the post-war baby boom generation that is moving beyond age 65 and living longer. That impacts everything, from living at home to health care to pensions and old age security.

READ MORE: Baby boomers push retiree growth rate to highest in 70 years

Canada’s nurses and doctors have been on the frontlines of this strategy. They have been leading the call for a national response to this growing problem. It appears the politicians are finally getting the message.

The House of Commons standing committee on human resources, skills and social development and the status of persons with disabilities presented a report on Thursday and made 29 recommendations on what needs to be done. The recommendations range from investment in residential care infrastructure to income support for seniors and their caregivers.

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The report was the subject of some discussion at the national Liberal convention held on the weekend in Halifax. Committee chair Brian May told me the report is being taken seriously by the Minister responsible, Jean-Yves Duclos.

“I think there is general agreement across all party lines that we have to do something on this file,” May told me. “We spent a lot of time studying this issue and putting together our report. I believe it’ll form the basis for a national strategy on things like pharmacare. And pharmacare is definitely on the agenda on the weekend in Halifax.”

As usual in Canada, a multiplicity of governments, health care agencies, housing officials and community groups make finding solutions a real challenge. But everyone involved seems to agree the problem is not going away and, in fact, is going to continue to grow. It will take vision, leadership and determination to make a goal that seems so obvious into a reality.

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