The Canadian Medical Association is urging a Canada-wide strategy to help care for the country’s rapidly aging population. This comes on the heels of the renewal of the federal infrastructure program.

“Addressing community infrastructure is good for the country,” said Dr. Anna Reid, president of the CMA. “The next step is to focus some of that infrastructure spending on health care.”

The CMA noted government initiatives related to affordable housing, homelessness and Aboriginal health, but recommended another approach integrating home care and facility-based long-term, respite and palliative care services.

“The elephant in the room when it comes to Canada’s health care system is how we are going to craft a vision to better meet the needs of our aging population,” said Dr. Reid. “Canada badly needs a plan to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and others get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group in Canada. In 2011, an estimated 5.0 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a number that is expected to double in the next 25 years to reach 10.4 million seniors by 2036.

“To have a healthy economy, we need healthy Canadians,” Dr. Reid said. “To achieve that goal, we need a vision and a plan, along with the commitment of all levels of government, to support healthy Canadians and communities across the country.”

Steven Spriensma is a journalist and former news editor at Ignite News. He has a degree in Geography from McMaster University and an advanced diploma in journalism from Mohawk College.

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