Policy Options, Kevin Wasko, July 14, 2022
Waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed and created many competing public policy priorities. Perhaps no revelation has been more embarrassing than the state of elder care in Canada. A quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi goes, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
As Canada recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic, addressing the health of our seniors should be among the country’s top policy priorities.
There has been much talk for decades about the need for a national seniors’ strategy. However, politicians follow public sentiment and lack of political will has stalled any meaningful reform.
Ageism smolders beneath the surface. Many Canadians were indifferent and cynical about the impact of COVID-19. Statements that COVID impacts only the elderly and those with medical comorbidities have dehumanized them and downplayed the devastating impact of the illness on our most vulnerable.