Canada Releases Canada’s First Dementia Strategy

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

June 17, 2019 – Toronto, ON – Public Health Agency of Canada

Dementia is having a significant and growing impact in Canada, with more than 419,000 Canadians aged 65 years and older diagnosed with dementia. Two thirds of those diagnosed are women, and as our population ages, the number of Canadians affected by dementia is expected to increase. Dementia affects not only the person living with dementia, but also their families, caregivers, and communities.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health announced the release of A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire. This first national dementia strategy focuses on preventing dementia, advancing therapies, and finding a cure, as well as improving the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers. Budget 2019 proposed $50 million in funding to help advance the Strategy.

The Strategy is a result of collaborative efforts between governments, researchers, health professionals, people living with dementia, and caregivers. It was informed by evidence and advice obtained from consultations across the country. This included valuable input received during the national dementia conference, as well as advice from the Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia.

The Strategy is a key milestone in Canada’s efforts to create a country where people living with dementia and caregivers are valued and supported, where they have an optimal quality of life, and where dementia can be prevented, effectively treated, and better understood.

The Minister of Health also announced funding for Phase II of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), a national platform for collaborative research in dementia, led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR is providing $31.6 million, and partners-including provincial agencies and non-profit organizations-are providing an additional $14.4 million for a total investment of $46 million over five years. The research on dementia prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care as part of Phase II of the CCNA will support the Strategy.

“What we heard from stakeholders across the country, including those living with dementia and caregivers, had a direct impact on the development of Canada’s first national dementia strategy. By working together with all orders of government and different sectors to implement this Strategy, we can advance prevention and treatment efforts, and improve the quality of life for those living with dementia as well as their families and caregivers.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Minister of Health

“Helping seniors live healthy and active lives is a top priority for our government. With its focus on prevention and education, Canada’s first national dementia strategy will help improve the quality of life of seniors living with dementia and ensure that their family members and caregivers have access to the resources they need. Our government’s strengthened commitment to the New Horizons for Seniors Program also increases support for community-based projects that help seniors living with dementia as well as their families and caregivers.”

The Honourable Filomena Tassi

Minister of Seniors

“We are tremendously excited by the strategy, and are grateful to the Minister of Health and to the Government of Canada for their continued commitment to addressing the growing health and social challenges of dementia. We must continue to work together to ensure that the strategy translates into real progress and measurable impact. The Alzheimer Society will continue to champion an implementation plan. We owe it to Canadians affected by dementia to implement the Strategy in a way that brings about positive changes in their lifetime.”

Pauline Tardif

Co-chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia

Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada

“We thank the Government of Canada for leading the development of this strategy, which will play a key role in tackling the greatest health crisis of our time. This strategy, when effectively implemented, has the ability to make a real difference in the lives of Canadians living with dementia and their families and caregivers. It also reaffirms the need for an ongoing commitment to research that will lead to new and much needed innovative solutions that improve the ways in which we prevent, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

Dr. William E Reichman

Co-chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia

President and CEO, Baycrest

Quick facts

  • On average, nine seniors are diagnosed with dementia every hour in Canada. After the age of 65, the risk of being diagnosed with dementia doubles every five years.

  • Canada’s national dementia strategy reflects the priorities set out in the National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2017.

  • Budget 2019 proposed funding of $50 million over five years to support the implementation of the Strategy through actions in four areas: awareness, treatment guidelines, early diagnosis, and surveillance. This complements Budget 2018 funding, which provided $20 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $4 million per year ongoing, for the Dementia Community Investment. This fund supports community-based projects that enhance the well-being of people living with dementia and provide caregivers with access to the resources they need, including mental health supports.

  • Established in 2014, the CCNA brings together more than 300 researchers from across the country. It provides the infrastructure and resources to accelerate research on dementia prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

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