On June 1, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) released Towards a Dementia Plan: A WHO Guide. The publication aims to assist countries in developing national dementia strategies that are comprehensive and multi-sectoral. The information is for new, stand-alone dementia plans; for strengthening existing dementia plans; and for integrating dementia into existing dementia-related plans (e.g., national mental health plans).
Regarding strategy leadership and governance, the WHO states that "[t]o avoid a health-centric perspective, some countries [have chosen] to establish a national commission or council, typically convened by the ministry of health, representing multiple sectors (e.g. education, housing, justice, environment, social welfare)."
As Canada begins to develop and implement its national strategy, the Dementia Justice Society of Canada urges the federal government and its partners to take action on the WHO's recommendation and expand the ministerial advisory board's mandate beyond health. As Dementia Justice has previously cautioned, the board's mandate is currently limited to advising on the health care of persons with dementia, despite the legislative commitment to building a comprehensive strategy that addresses all aspects of dementia.
In addition to board composition, the WHO guide identifies non-health sector roles more generally, including civil and criminal justice:
The Dementia Justice Society of Canada applauds the WHO for acknowledging the importance of incorporating justice issues into national dementia strategies, particularly in relation to persons with dementia who are in conflict with the criminal justice system. Dementia Justice urges the Government of Canada to implement the WHO's recommendation and explicitly incorporate justice into the national plan.
Written submission on Bill C-233, National Dementia Strategy, to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (April 2017)
National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act
Towards a Dementia Plan: A WHO Guide (June 2018)