Canada’s national dementia strategy

On June 22, 2017, Canada became the 30th country to launch a national dementia strategy. The passing of Bill C-233, An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, means the Government of Canada will address the overwhelming scale, impact and cost of dementia.

We celebrate this news with all Canadians affected by dementia, who repeatedly tell us they want better integrated care and support. The Alzheimer Society has long called for a national dementia strategy to enhance research efforts and ensure access to quality care and support, so that Canadians with dementia can have the best quality of life.

The Act not only brings Canada in line with many other countries around the world who have made dementia a priority, but also commits our government to action with definitive timelines, targets, reporting structures and measurable outcomes.

What is a national dementia strategy?

A national dementia strategy is the single most powerful tool to transform dementia care and support. Twenty-nine countries and seven of Canada’s provinces currently have some form of dementia strategy. They vary significantly, but all serve to elevate dementia care as a priority.

Common elements of dementia strategies include raising awareness, coordination of care, research funding, enhanced training for healthcare professionals, and sharing of best practices.

Now that Canada has committed to such a strategy, work begins on implementation. The Alzheimer Society and its federation partners look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with government, stakeholders and, above all, people living with dementia, to create and implement Canada’s first national dementia strategy. We have proposed a framework for Canada’s national strategy - you can read about it here.

What does it mean for you?

A national dementia strategy means that all Canadians living with dementia, their caregivers and their families, have access to the same level and quality of care, no matter where they live. It will maximize effectiveness of existing programs and services, focusing attention on priority areas. Dementia research will be better coordinated.

The overall impact of a national dementia strategy will be better local management of dementia, resulting in improved quality of care and life.

An estimated 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia, and by 2031, this number will nearly double. That’s less than 15 years away. Alzheimer’s disease, already the seventh-leading cause of death in Canada, will only continue to grow as a public health concern. The cost to care for those with dementia is currently estimated at $10.4 billion. A national dementia strategy will ensure Canada is ready to meet this challenge, with a coordinated, focused approach to care and research.

For more information, visit our Guide to the Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias or download a copy of the Act.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017