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Qualicum Beach council questions allocation of health care dollars

Town could expect to spend 77 per cent more per capita
Qualicum Beach town hall. (File photo)

In 2018, 47 per cent of health care spending was allocated to seniors in Canada, though they only comprise 17 per cent of the population.

More than one out of every six dollars spent by the provincial government in B.C.’s 2019 budget is for seniors’ health care.

A media release from the Town of Qualicum Beach asks why demographics are not considered as a factor in determining how much money each province receives from the federal government for health care.

A resolution sent to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) passed by council in Qualicum Beach earlier this year seeks to address this problem. It asks for the federal government to include the age of the population as a factor when it calculates how much each province receives from Canada health transfers.

READ MORE: B.C. has the longest healthcare wait times in Canada: report

“This council was elected to improve health care services and address the lack of affordable housing,” said Mayor Brian Wiese. “This resolution is part of living up to that commitment.”

Coun. Scott Harrison said the resolution “won’t fix the challenges we face in delivering health care for seniors in our community.”

“However, we need to look at the impact aging has on costs. Advocating for this change will hopefully spur productive conversations between the provincial and federal ministries even if the federal government fails to amend how they calculate health transfers,” he said.

With the first baby boomers reaching age 65 in 2011, the likelihood of more seniors retiring to Vancouver Island remains high, states the release.

Compared to a community with average demographics, Qualicum Beach could expect to spend 77 per cent more per capita for health care and Parksville could spend 53 per cent more.

Qualicum Beach’s resolution passed April 14 in Powell River with the support of the vast majority of delegates at AVICC and will go on to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) in September.

— NEWS staff, submitted

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