Appointments to the National Seniors Council

GATINEAU, QC, June 22, 2015 /CNW/ -The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced today the appointments of Ms. Olivia Butti and Ms. Patricia Spadafora as members of the National Seniors Council (NSC).

The NSC was established to advise the Government of Canada on all matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population of seniors.

As a member of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation's volunteer board of directors, Ms. Butti has spearheaded a variety of health-related projects. She has also been a leader in engaging communities in meaningful philanthropy that supports the needs of the hospital and improves the lives of patients and their families. Through her work with various hospitals and health care organizations in the Edmonton area, Ms. Butti brings to the Council extensive experience in the areas of health and wellness.

Ms. Spadafora brings to the Council over 35 years of experience in social work and education. She also has expertise in areas such as the psychosocial dimensions of aging, aging in a foreign land, social inclusion and interaction, and social innovation. In 2003, Ms. Spadafora founded the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research where she works to build strong partnerships to develop innovative approaches to enhancing the lives of older Canadians.  

Quick Facts

  • The NSC advises the Government of Canada on matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population of seniors.
  • Since 2007, the NSC has undertaken work on elder abuse, the effects of low income among seniors, volunteerism, positive and active aging, and approaches to attracting older workers to the labour force and retaining them.
  • Currently, the Council is looking at how social isolation affects seniors and exploring ways to prevent and reduce the social isolation of seniors in Canada.


"I am pleased to announce the appointments of Ms. Butti and Ms. Spadafora as members of the National Seniors Council. Both will bring a wealth of expertise and foresight to the Council on issues of importance to older Canadians."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

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The National Seniors Council

The National Seniors Council advises on matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse seniors population.

  • The Council reports to the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, and to the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health. The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), is responsible for the day‑to‑day operations of the Council.
  • Council members include seniors, representatives of organizations who serve seniors and/or experts on seniors and aging.

The Government of Canada is working hard to help improve the lives of seniors on many fronts. These efforts include:

  • developing as a central resource for seniors, including a new Information for Seniors section that brings together a variety of federal, provincial/territorial and municipal resources about relevant programs and benefits;
  • providing Canadians with an estimated $80 billion this year through Canada's public pension system;
  • adding a top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 2011 to help Canada's most vulnerable seniors, the largest increase in 25 years to the GIS for the lowest-income seniors, further improving the financial security and well-being of more than 680,000 seniors across Canada;
  • providing $2.8 billion in 2013 in tax relief to seniors and pensioners through measures such as pension income splitting and increasing the Age Credit;
  • providing $400 million over two years under Canada's Economic Action Plan for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors;
  • securing voluntary agreements from Canada's eight major banks to improve low-cost and expand no-cost basic banking services to certain groups, including seniors who qualify for the GIS;
  • making a strong investment in the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP). Economic Action Plan 2014 increased funding for the NHSP by $5 million per year, for a total of $50 million annually. Since 2006, the NHSP has funded nearly 15,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, representing a total Government of Canada investment of $350 million;
  • actions, including awareness campaigns to address elder abuse through projects funded by the NHSP and legislation to help ensure consistently tough penalties for offences involving the abuse of elderly people;
  • supporting positive and active aging through the collaborative Age-Friendly Communities initiative, physical activity tips for older adults and fall-prevention initiatives;
  • helping Canadians who are providing care to loved ones through the Family Caregivers Tax Credit; and
  • Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to:
    • introduce a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors and persons with disabilities to help with the costs of keeping their homes safe, secure and accessible.
    • reduce the minimum withdrawal factors for Registered Retirement Income Funds to permit seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings and better support their retirement income needs.
    • provide up to $37 million annually to extend Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits from six weeks to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill family members.
    • enhance Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits to provide additional financial security to Canadian workers and their families during difficult times.

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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Justin Wood, Office of the Minister of State (Seniors), 613-852-3761; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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