Canadian government launches national plan to tackle dementia

The Canadian government has announced their adoption of a national plan on dementia.

The government of Canada today adopted a national plan on dementia. The plan is the 32nd to be adopted worldwide, and includes key targets for improving awareness, access to care, support and treatment, research and risk reduction of dementia by 2025.

It is estimated that over half a million people are living with dementia in Canada, resulting in a combined health-care system and out-of-pocket caregiver cost of over $10 billion every year. These economic and social costs are set to drastically increase, as the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase by 66 per cent by 2031, to 937,000 people.

The plan, titled ‘A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire follows a rigorous multi-stakeholder consultation process including the Alzheimer Society of Canada and people living with dementia. Crucially, the plan includes a budget of $3 million in fiscal year 2019 and $12 million in each of the following four years.

Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International welcomed the adoption of the plan. She said:

We have been eagerly awaiting the launch of this plan, Canada is a nation which has the means and capacity to implement a plan which can serve as a beacon of excellence to inspire others. The way so many stakeholders were consulted throughout the process leading to the plan is in itself an example for inspiration. Only through involving experts, including people living with dementia, can a plan truly address the needs of a population. We hope this multisectoral engagement continues in the implementation and monitoring of what could become a seminal plan.

National dementia plans remain the single most powerful tool to transform dementia care and support people living with dementia and their care partners. The adoption of a Global plan on dementia by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2017 targets 146 of the 194 Member States to develop a national response to dementia by 2025. Currently the global response is just 15% of the target and the timely launch of the Canada plan should stimulate others to follow suit.