GATINEAU, QC, March 12, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ -The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today announced the new priority for the National Seniors Council (NSC). The NSC will build on its work from 2013/14 and further examine barriers that prevent communities and seniors from reaching out to each other. It will also consider ways to encourage and facilitate communities to establish meaningful contact with socially isolated seniors in their neighborhoods.
Over the past year, the NSC met with seniors and key players from the non-profit, public and private sectors across Canada to assess how social isolation affects seniors. In October 2014, the NSC released the report "Social Isolation of Seniors." The report provides a summary of the consultation findings as well as measures to help address this social issue.
Minister Wong reiterated to the members of the NSC the importance of continuing their work with local communities and stakeholders to reduce social isolation, a complex and pervasive, but preventable issue.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting and promoting seniors' ongoing health, well-being and contributions by encouraging seniors to stay active, engaged and informed, but social isolation can leave seniors vulnerable.
- In 2008, 19 percent of Canadians aged 65 or over felt a lack of companionship, left out or isolated from others.
- Approximately 50 percent of people over the age of 80 report feeling lonely.
- Since 2007, the NSC released six reports on issues related to seniors. They are available online at http://www.seniorscouncil.gc.ca/eng/research_publications/index.shtml.
- The Government of Canada has provided more than $1.7 million in New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding support for 24 NHSP pilot projects across Canada that will lead to new initiatives and activities that help reduce the social isolation of seniors.
- The NSC was established in 2007 by the Government of Canada to provide advice on the overall well-being of seniors, both now and in the future.
- The NSC 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 population of seniors.
"The social isolation of seniors can leave seniors vulnerable. It's for that reason the Government of Canada is committed to supporting and promoting seniors' ongoing health, well-being and contributions by encouraging seniors to stay active, engaged and informed."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
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 Canada.ca/Seniors 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 recently increased funding for the NHSP by $5 million per year. This is in addition to the $45 million the Government already provides to this program annually. Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 13,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada;
- 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; and
- helping Canadians who are providing care to loved ones through the Family Caregivers Tax Credit and Employment Insurance special benefits for those caring for a dying relative or a critically ill child.
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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Earl Maynard, Office of the Minister of State (Seniors), 819-953-1144; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, email@example.com