Bill C-233

Most under-recognized public health threat

According to a report published by Statistics Canada in 2014, Dementia is the 8th leading cause of death in Canada. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.

Too often Alzheimer's is treated as a issue that only impacts people that are aging, but I can attest to the fact that that is simply incorrect. This disease has far reaching impacts and the burden will continue to deepen.  

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, as of 2016, the combined health-care system and out-of-pocket caregiver costs are estimated at $10.4 billion per year. By 2031, this figure is expected to increase by 60 per cent, to $16.6 billion.

In an earlier post I talked about the passing of Bill C-233An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, making Canada the 30th Country with a National Dementia Strategy.

This is a step in the right direction, but what are we doing to help the people with dementia and their families right now? 

I want to find a way to unify us, caregivers and sufferers alike, so we can share our experiences in order to influence policy. 

Dementia is still not being seen as the epidemic that it is. The percentage of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s budget invested in dementia research is only 5%

A commitment to more public funding for dementia research is the best place to start.

Find out how Canada compares to these and other G7 nations in funding Alzheimer’s research.

Canada to become 30th country with national dementia strategy

On June 22, Canada made history with the passage of Bill C-233, An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Prior to this announcement, Canada was the only remaining G7 nation without a national dementia strategy. This soon-to-be law will address the overwhelming scale, impact and cost of dementia. 

This is an important milestone for the Alzheimer's Society, people living with dementia and caregivers like myself.  I believe the government is unable to handle the dementia crisis using its currently methodology. Especially when you consider that there are more than 747,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia; and that number is projected to double over the next 20 years. 

"A national strategy enables a coordinated approach to tackling dementia in Canada that will impact the lives of those affected in tangible ways," said Pauline Tardif, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

I welcome any enhancement to research efforts, as well as any attempt to improve access to quality care and support. Canadians with dementia deserve the best quality of life possible. 

On a side note, I am incredibly grateful for Honourable Rob Nicholson, MP Niagara Falls, and Rob Oliphant, MP Don Valley West, for co-sponsoring Bill C-233. Without the courageous efforts of these men, and the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, Canada would not be joining the ranks of the 29 other countries that have a national dementia strategy.

Stay tuned for more details as the federal government moves forward with implementation.

To learn more, visit www.alzheimer.ca/advocacy.