Mr. Speaker, today, the Canadian Medical Association called on the federal government to engage the provinces in creating a pan-Canadian dementia plan. Canada is the only G7 country without a comprehensive national strategy.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Currently, 500,000 Canadians live with this degenerative disease. That number will double in the next 20 years. While research into cause and treatment is important, the most vital missing element is building the health system's capacity to deliver care to the increasing number of Alzheimer's patients.
While the federal Minister of Health may shrug off this responsibility to the provinces, she is wrong. In every country with a national plan, the national government led the way, integrating dementia care into their health systems, which includes best practices in management, prevention of chronic disease, and ensuring that community and social services, housing and caregiving are integral parts of the system.
While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, research shows that by early identification and proper management we can delay its onset to the point of near elimination of the disease.