The Government of Canada supports seniors in Quebec



    MONTREAL, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada is supporting
seniors in Quebec by making sure they have the opportunity to participate and
take an active leadership role within the community.
    Mr. Jacques Gourde, Member of Parliament for
Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the
Regions of Quebec, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of
Human Resources and Social Development, and the Honourable Marjory LeBreton,
Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors), today
celebrated funding for a project under the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
    The project Concert intergénérationnel "Les Diplomates en concert pour la
relève" will receive $19,600 in funding. This project will allow seniors to
organize and present a concert in Quebec, on November 16, 2008, at the
Albert-Rousseau room, in collaboration with the youth of l'Externat
Saint-Jean-Eudes. About 100 seniors are expected to participate in the
project.
    Les Diplomates is a group of musicians of all ages who have, in the past,
been part of a drum and bugle corps, an activity that practically disappeared
in Quebec in the late 1990s. The organization aims to encourage musical
training for youth and to promote this type of musical activity as an art form
to be appreciated by all.
    "The Government of Canada is proud to support seniors in strengthening
our communities and building our country," said Mr. Gourde. "This project will
encourage seniors to continue sharing their skills, wisdom and experience to
benefit others."
    "This concert is proof that bridging the gap between youth and seniors is
possible and valuable, through engaging in a common artistic activity and
passion, such as music," said Ms. Carole Plante, Secretary-Treasurer of the
organization Les Diplomates.
    In Quebec, 245 organizations in 141 communities have received funding
totalling more than $4.4 million.
    Last year, the Government of Canada announced an additional investment of
$10 million per year for two new components of the New Horizons for Seniors
Program-to raise awareness of elder abuse, and to provide capital assistance
for upgrades to facilities and equipment used for existing seniors' programs.
Projects funded under these new components will be announced in the spring of
2008.
    Budget 2008 and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the
needs of Canada's seniors through the introduction of a series of important
measures that include:

    
    - providing $13 million over three years to help seniors and others
      recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse, and to provide
      information on what support is available;
    - proposing to raise the current Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
      earned income exemption to $3,500 from $500. This means that typical
      GIS recipients will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money
      without any reduction in GIS benefits;
    - enabling 1.6 million low-income seniors to benefit from increased
      monthly benefits available under the Guaranteed Income Supplement and
      to make a one-time application for GIS. As long as they file income tax
      returns every year, these seniors will never have to reapply;
    - establishing the National Seniors Council to advise the Government on
      issues of importance to older Canadians;
    - providing more than $1 billion in tax relief to Canadian seniors and
      pensioners;
    - allowing seniors to build their retirement savings in Registered
      Pension Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans for an extra two
      years until age 71; and
    - raising the amount that seniors can claim under the age credit on their
      tax returns for 2007. With less income taxed, seniors save more.

    To ensure that the New Horizons for Seniors Program and the programs
provided by the Government of Quebec complement each other, a Canada-Quebec
memorandum of understanding sets out the mechanisms for collaboration.
    Under this memorandum of understanding, the projects funded by the New
Horizons for Seniors Program are recommended jointly by representatives of
Human Resources and Social Development Canada and the Secrétariat aux aînés du
Québec, following consultation with the Tables de concertation des aînés
established in every region of Quebec. This process is fully consistent with
the broad cross-Canada policy directions for the Program, under which people
who are engaged in seniors' issues review and recommend projects for funding.
    Since its beginning, the New Horizons for Seniors Program has funded over
2,600 projects across Canada, inspiring seniors to bring their leadership,
energy and skills to benefit their communities. For more information about the
Program, please visit:
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/community_partnerships/seniors/index.shtml.


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                                 backgrounder
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                       New Horizons for Seniors Program

    Across Canada, the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) helps to ensure
that seniors are able to benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in
their communities through their social participation and active living. This
is achieved through funding of community projects that help seniors share
their skills, wisdom and experience to benefit others, while reducing their
social isolation.
    Building on the success of the NHSP, last year the Government of Canada
increased the Program's budget by $10 million per year to provide capital
assistance for repairs to facilities and equipment related to existing
seniors' programs, and to raise awareness of elder abuse across Canada. This
has increased the total budget for the NHSP to $35 million per year.
    As a result, the Program now offers three types of funding to
organizations:

    Pre-existing component
    ----------------------

    1. Community Participation and Leadership Funding: This funding supports
       community-based projects across Canada. The projects encourage seniors
       to continue to play an important role in their communities by helping
       those in need, providing leadership and sharing their knowledge and
       skills with others.

    New funding components
    ----------------------

    2. Capital Assistance Funding: This funding will help non-profit
       organizations that need to upgrade facilities or equipment used for
       existing seniors' programs and activities. It will enable seniors to
       continue to lead active lives by participating in existing programs
       and activities in their communities.

    3. Elder Abuse Awareness Funding: This funding will help non-profit
       organizations and coalitions raise awareness of the abuse of older
       adults on a national or regional level. Through this funding, new
       educational and awareness resources about elder abuse will be
       available to improve quality of life, safety and security for seniors.
    




For further information:

For further information: (media only): Pascal Doucet, Media Relations
Coordinator, Service Canada Communications, (514) 982-2384, ext. 2209; Media
Relations, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, (819) 994-5559; This
news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


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