The federal election is on October 21, 2019.
Those who vote will decide who will represent us and how our government will address our biggest concerns. The following issues are important for all Canadians but particularly older ones. Seniors represent the fastest growing demographic in Canada and the next government should enact public policies and systems that will address the needs not only of today’s seniors but also the seniors of the future.
Canadians pay among the highest prices for medications. One in ten Canadians does not have adequate drug coverage and one in four households cannot afford their prescriptions. A universal, public pharmacare program would help Canadians manage their drug costs, allow for better evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of medications and reduce hospital overcrowding and strains on other parts of our health system. A national public pharmacare plan would save between 4 and 11 billion dollars annually.
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 600,000 Canadian seniors live in poverty. It behooves Canadians to elect a government that will ensure that older Canadians can afford to enjoy a healthy, active and dignified retirement.
Although seniors are the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population, there are gaps in healthcare and social policies that hinder older Canadians from aging with dignity. Standards of care are inconsistent across the country. There are not enough doctors and certainly not enough with geriatric expertise. We need more personal support workers and community care workers. Canada suffers from inadequate home care services and not enough long-term care beds. Those who provide care to family members or friends do so at a cost to their personal finances and their own physical and mental health. Social isolation and elder abuse are serious concerns for many Canadian seniors. A coordinated National Seniors Strategy could effectively address these issues in a coordinated manner and ensure that the evolving needs of seniors are met.
Climate change concerns many seniors as they contemplate the future, especially the futures of their children and grandchildren. A government that will immediately and adequately address the climate crisis is absolutely necessary.
A Public National Pharmacare plan, a secure and dignified retirement for Canada’s seniors, a National Seniors Strategy to address the evolving and interrelated health concerns of seniors, and government action to address the climate crisis are four important issues for seniors. They need to be on the political agenda.
A Candidates Meeting focusing on seniors’ issues will be held at the Seniors Drop-In Centre, 619 Bay St., Sault Ste. Marie on October 16 from 2 until 4 p.m. This meeting is free and open to the public. Come out to meet the candidates, hear their ideas and ask questions. And let’s all make sure we vote on October 21.