Regional District of Nanaimo seeks age adjustment in Canada Health Transfers

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is calling on the federal government to increase Canada Health Transfers (CHT) to provinces and cities with more seniors.

CHT funding is distributed on an equal per-capita basis across the country and does not take into account regional demographic variations that affect healthcare expenditures greatly.

RDN board chair Vanessa Craig says research has shown that seniors account for half of the healthcare spending nationally, and changes to the CHT formula would help cities keep up with their healthcare costs.

Craig says as Nanaimo is growing rapidly, healthcare facilities are not able to keep up.

“We have a really good hospital in the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, but we’re past capacity,” she said. “We also don’t have services like cardiac care and full cancer care that people south of the Malahat have much easier time accessing.”

RDN directors endorsed a resolution at a meeting Jan. 30 with age adjustments to the CHT for submission to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) September 2024 Board meeting. This meeting will include local governments from across the country.

The RDN’s resolution states that the population aged 65 and older is the fastest-growing age groups in Canada, and the percentage of these residents differ across provinces and territories, creating inequities in age-related health-care funding under the current per-capita CHT funding model.

A report by the Canadian Medical Association, ‘The State of Seniors Health Care in Canada,‘ says 20 per cent of the Canadian population is seniors, and people aged 84 years and over make up the fastest growing age group in Canada. As well, this portion of the population grew by 127 per cent between 1993 and 2013. Plus, nine in 10 Canadians agree that Canada requires a national seniors strategy to address needs along the full continuum of healthcare, according to the same report.

The RDN directors will submit the resolution in time for the annual FCM Meeting in September 2024.

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