On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada responded to the November 2016 report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled Dementia in Canada: A National Strategy for Dementia-friendly Communities. The government response addresses six themes, which align with the Senate committee's recommendations: international leadership on dementia; federal research, data and innovation; healthy aging; living with dementia; support for family and friend caregivers; and home care services, housing, and health care delivery.
The Dementia Justice Society of Canada commends the government for its response and ongoing dialogue with the Senate committee. It is evident that Canada is committed to taking important steps to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia, including through the development of a National Dementia Strategy.
However, Dementia Justice remains concerned that criminal justice matters continue to be overlooked.
While most people with dementia will not commit a crime, some will become entangled with the criminal law. Dementia Justice therefore urges the government and Senate committee to acknowledge and address the intersection of dementia and the criminal justice system.
In particular, Dementia Justice encourages the government to develop the National Dementia Strategy in a manner which recognizes the potential impact dementia may have on people's relationship with the criminal justice system.
By incorporating this recommendation, Canada will be at the forefront of recognizing dementia as a criminal justice system issue. This will not only enhance Canada's international leadership, but more importantly, it will potentially improve the lives of people with dementia who have the misfortune of coming into conflict with the criminal law.
Government response to the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled Dementia in Canada: A National Strategy for Dementia-friendly Communities.
About Dementia Justice
Dementia Justice is a federally incorporated non-profit society dedicated to advancing the rights, needs and dignity of people with dementia who are, or are at risk of becoming, involved with the criminal justice system. It strives to achieve its objectives through public advocacy, awareness-raising, education and research.