Summary of Federal Party Platforms Relating to Seniors

Care Watch calls for all parliamentarians to work together, and with provincial and territorial governments and with stakeholders, to develop, adopt and act on a national strategies that wll collectively benefit older Canadians.

Health services are, in general, provincial and territorial responsibilities, but are guided and supported by national frameworks and policies. Along with improved home care and community services, we called for two new national policy frameworks – a seniors strategy and a pharmacare strategy. Both are springboards for work with the provinces and territories.

We prepared a brief summary of the four national parties’ platforms on the three issues we identifed early in the election as critical for seniors: 1) home and community care and other services for seniors; 2) a seniors strategy; and 3) pharmacare. Platforms and promises, however, are only the bare beginnings, so we add some comments and questions about the next steps.

Brief: Summary of Federal Political Party Positions on Seniors Issues,October 27, 2019

What can you do? The 2019 federal election wasn’t an endpoint, but one step in a process. Now the real work begins.

  • Stay informed about policies affecting seniors. Check our website for more information and analysis. We will pass along what we learn.
  • Hold local representatives, leaders, and officials accountable. Don’t be satisfied with vague promises and funding announcements with no specifics. These people are accountable to you.

Basic Income vs National Pharmacare

As usual, André Picard @picardonhealth makes good points when he wonders whether a basic income strategy would be better than a national pharmacare plan. (Globe & Mail, June 25, 2019). We have long known that the way to keep people healthier longer is to ensure that they have a decent income, a roof over their heads, healthy food, a good education, a sound physical environment and sense of belonging.

It is also clear that continuing to build our “sickness care” system and medicalizing ageing at the expense of other social programming (e.g., affordable housing, community supports, etc.) is not the answer.  There are no magic bullets; no stand-alone strategies are going to address the complex range of issues that we face.

So the real choice is not either basic income or pharmacare; the choice should be “both”.

That is why Care watch is calling for both a national seniors strategy and a national pharmacare strategy, which complement our public health services system.

Let’s start where we can – using our collective economic strengths to negotiate and secure better prices and access to needed medications.  Let’s continue working on other social determinants of health: adequate income; affordable housing; nutritious food; safe environments for us to live, work and play; and social participation. #cdnpoli