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Speaking Notes for the Honourable Rona Ambrose Minister of Health

Opening Remarks G8 Summit: Dementia

December 11, 2013
London, England

Secretary Hunt, honourable Ministers, Dr. Chan, Mr. Leterme, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen: I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Summit and to share Canada's perspective on dementia.

The impacts of dementia on individuals, care-givers, families, and national economies are significant, and are only expected to intensify.  By 2031, it's estimated that 1.4 million Canadians will have dementia, costing the Canadian economy nearly $300 billion.  

The Government of Canada is concerned about rising rates of dementia and is taking action.

Between 2006 and 2013, the Government of Canada has invested over $860M in neuroscience research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, including over $236M directed to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Our involvement in the International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer's Disease puts Canadian researchers into international partnerships that are working at the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation.

Canada's first-ever National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions is in the final phase, after four years of intensive research that looked at the impacts of neurological conditions on individuals, families, caregivers and the healthcare system. The final results will fill gaps in knowledge so that we can better work with our partners to support Canadians living with these conditions.

The Government of Canada has also committed up to $100 million to establish the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the public, private, and voluntary sectors.  The Fund connects knowledge and resources to accelerate neuroscience research and advance knowledge and treatment.

In Canada, provincial and territorial governments play an essential role in administering and delivering healthcare services, and are working to enhance the quality of treatment and care for people with dementia. 

I would like to acknowledge my colleague, Mr. Fred Horne, Minister of Health of the province of Alberta.

Minister Horne is a member of the provincial and territorial Health Care Innovation Working Group, which focuses on using innovation to enhance capacity to better meet challenges in the healthcare system.  One of the group's current priorities is seniors' care, including dementia and identifying best practices for early diagnosis.

In addition to the public sector, industry and academia are also playing an important role in Canada.  Successful partnership models are supporting collaboration between research experts and the business community.

Of course, more still needs to be done.  I'm looking forward to today's discussion and to learning more about the innovative work underway in all of our countries.  Today's Summit promises to be an important milestone in galvanizing international cooperation to address the growing challenge of dementia. Thank you.