Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The federal government has released a long-awaited national dementia strategy, providing a road map for the first time for how it intends to address a costly and rapidly growing public health concern.

But while dementia experts welcomed the strategy as an important initial step, some emphasized the government will need to devote much more funding than promised to actually implement it.

At a press conference in Toronto on Monday, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor outlined the main objectives of the strategy: prevent dementia, seek better treatments and a cure, and improve the quality of life for people with the condition and their caregivers.

Story continues below advertisement

She affirmed the government is spending $50-million over five years to fund the strategy, as set out in the 2019 federal budget. And she announced the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the federal funding agency, will contribute $31.6-million over the next five years to support a national dementia research consortium.

“Over the past years, governments of all stripes have put [in] place an array of national strategies. Some are more effective than others. So, you may ask yourself: Why is this one any different?” Ms. Petitpas Taylor said. “Well, it’s because we’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

But for some dementia experts, such as cognitive and stroke neurologist Sandra Black, director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences, that amount is not nearly enough.

“This $50-million over five years is like a toe in the water,” she says.

Canada is the last Group of Eight country to put together a national dementia strategy. About 30 other countries around the world have taken this step to tackle the condition, which affects an estimated 50 million people globally.

Ms. Petitpas Taylor said she did not know why it took so long in the past for Canada to develop its own strategy. But she said, “I can tell you for our government, it has been a priority.”

In Canada, more than 419,000 adults aged 65 and older were living with some form of dementia between 2015 and 2016, and an estimated 78,600 new cases are diagnosed each year. The health care and out-of-pocket caregiver costs associated with the condition are projected to reach $16.6-billion by 2031.

Story continues below advertisement

The dementia strategy highlights the need to prevent the condition through measures such as the promoting healthy living. It also includes the need to eliminate stigma against those with dementia, promote early diagnosis and develop a skilled workforce, from researchers to care providers.

The strategy also emphasizes the need to engage with Indigenous governments and communities, stating that Indigenous peoples face barriers to equitable care and are at higher risk of developing dementia.

Among its “aspirations”: annual investments in dementia research in Canada exceeding 1 per cent of dementia care costs.

At present, that 1 per cent would amount to about $100-million a year, Dr. Black said, saying that the $50-million over five years in the federal budget is paltry by comparison.

Pauline Tardif, chief executive officer of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, said she is happy to see the release of the strategy. However, she added: "We already know that delivering on the commitments of this aspirational strategy will need added investments as we go along.”

Ms. Tardif, who co-chaired the ministerial advisory board that contributed to the development of the strategy, said she was optimistic that various levels of government will invest further, as some initiatives outlined in the strategy are carried out."

For Jennifer Walker, a Canada research chair in Indigenous health at Laurentian University, one important aspect of the national strategy is that it does not dictate how Indigenous communities should address dementia. Rather, she said, it provides a framework that allows them to develop their own strategies.

Dementia is increasing at faster rates among Indigenous populations in Canada than the general population, she said. Indigenous communities also grapple with fragmented health-care systems and a dearth of culturally-centred resources, she added.

“What I want to make sure is that there is enough and adequate attention paid across all of the elements of the strategy for Indigenous populations, and that Indigenous communities have access to that funding to develop what they need to develop,” Dr. Walker said.

Roger Marple of Medicine Hat, Alberta is an advocate for the Alzheimer's Society of Canada.

David Fuller

As someone who lives with Alzheimer’s disease, Roger Marple of Medicine Hat, Alta., who was diagnosed in 2015, says eliminating stigma was what he wanted to see most in the national strategy.

Story continues below advertisement

“It all boils down to understanding," Mr. Marple said. "If people have a better understanding, a lot of these problems we’re having with stigma – whatever way it may look – will simply go away.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies