News Release

Canada launches national plan to tackle dementia: “A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire.”

17 June 2019

Timely launch of national strategy to support over half a million Canadians living with dementia.

  • Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia
  • More governments must develop a national response

Ottawa, 18 June 2019 – The Government of Canada has adopted a national plan on dementia following a rigorous multi-stakeholder consultation process including the Alzheimer Society of Canada, people living with dementia and caregivers. The plan is the 32nd to be adopted worldwide, and includes key targets for improving the 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 Canadians with dementia is expected to increase by 66 per cent by 2031, to 937,000.

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. 

There has been a commitment through the federal budget in Ottawa of $50 million over five years to support implementation of Canada’s plan, titled ‘A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire’. Specifically, the funding is for $3 million in fiscal year 2019 and $12 million in each of the following four years. The budget identified public awareness, stigma reduction, treatment guidelines, early diagnosis and collection and reporting of data as key priorities of the strategy. This funding is in addition to the $20 million over 5 years announced in the 2018 budget to support community-based projects that address the challenges of dementia. Budget 2019 provides a base upon which to build as the strategy becomes more fully developed and implemented.

ADI recommends that plans are developed in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders including people with dementia and their care partners. The development of the plan in Canada sets an excellent example for others, involving people living with dementia, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers, advocacy groups, as well as provincial and territorial governments. Others should take this as inspiration to ensure their plan meets the standards and targets set by the WHO’s Global plan.

Key sections of the plan include:

  • Prevention and timely diagnosis
  • Pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment
  • Better coordination of care and care programs
  • Monitoring and updating of the plan
  • Awareness and education of the community
  • Training of health and social sector
  • Promotion of research and innovation
  • Update of the ethical and legal context of dementia

Pauline Tardif, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Society Canada, said: “The national dementia strategy is a significant milestone for Canadians living with dementia, their caregivers and their families. For the first time, we have a national plan with a concerted and targeted approach to increase awareness, ensure timely diagnosis and intervention and enhance care and community supports.  We are thrilled that Canada has responded to the call for action set out in the World Health Organization’s “Global action plan on dementia" and now joins 31 other countries who have made dementia a national priority. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to ensure the strategy translates into real progress and measurable impact for Canadians affected by dementia now and into the future.”

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.”

Dementia is a trillion-dollar disease and is the only major chronic disease area that does not have a cure or effective treatment.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

More information on national plans, including a list of existing plans and plans in development can be found at www.alz.co.uk/dementia-plans

For more information, please contact:

Annie Bliss
Communications and Policy Officer
Alzheimer’s Disease International
T: +44 (0) 20 79810886
E: a.bliss@alz.co.uk

Available for interview

  • Paola Barbarino, CEO, Alzheimer’s Disease International

Global Plan on Dementia

The Global Plan of Action on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025 was adopted by 194 countries of the WHO during the 70th session of the World Health Assembly in May 2017. Find out more about the Global plan, including answers to common questions at: www.alz.co.uk/dementia-plans/global-plan

About Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)

ADI is the international federation of 94 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI's vision is prevention, care and inclusion today, and cure tomorrow. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. ADI works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for persons with dementia and their care partners, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change. 

www.alz.co.uk | Tel: +44 20 79810880 | Email: info@alz.co.uk | Twitter: @AlzDisInt

About Alzheimer Society Canada

The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading nationwide not-for-profit health organization working to improve the quality of life for Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, their caregivers and their families.  Active in communities across Canada, the Society provides information, programs and services, from diagnosis to end of life, and raises funds for research to better understand the causes of dementia, improve treatment and care and to find cures.  The Alzheimer Society of Canada is an official member of ADI. For more information, please visit: https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home