Serniors’ issues in focus at ministers’ meeting in Vancouver

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Federal, Provincial and Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers Responsible for Seniors met on Tuesday in Vancouver to discuss key issues related to seniors that matter to all Canadians such as caregiver readiness and social inclusion. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the federal Minister responsible for Seniors, and the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia.

During the meeting, Ministers emphasized the importance of continuing to work together to support the well-being of seniors. This meeting was the first opportunity for provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for seniors to meet with Minister Duclos to begin working together on areas of common interest, while respecting jurisdictional roles and responsibilities.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said:”I am pleased the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for seniors met to continue our collaboration and advance our discussions on issues that impact seniors. Our Government is demonstrating its commitment to seniors through Budget 2016 by lifting Canadians out of poverty, helping seniors facing challenges in accessing affordable housing, increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up for single seniors and restoring the age of eligibility of the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 67 to 65. Building on these measures, the Government has also been working hard to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, and provide more generous and flexible leave for caregivers.”

Affordable housing, home care

Ministers agreed to support collaboration with other F/P/T tables to advance the interests of seniors. In particular, they discussed the importance of supporting seniors to receive home care, and the need for affordable housing options for seniors. They also agreed to move forward on priorities such as promoting social inclusion of seniors. Ministers agreed to disseminate an innovative toolkit designed to reduce social isolation and identify ways to better support the active participation of older Canadians in the economy and civil society.

Terry Lake, Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia, said:  “It’s important to acknowledge seniors for all they have done and for how they continue to enhance our lives each day with their wisdom and experience. Today was a good day of discussion with my colleagues from acrossCanada on finding ways to make sure seniors have access to appropriate and effective support.”

The Forum of Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors was established in 1992 by F/P/T governments to advance issues of common interest. The focus is on concrete, collaborative projects and actions that will have a positive impact on the lives of seniors.

F/P/T Ministers Responsible for Seniors will reconvene in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2017 to discuss future work to support the needs of seniors.

All governments contribute to the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum by sharing information, expertise, and innovative practices. However, Québec does not subscribe to pan-Canadian approaches with reference to seniors as it intends to continue to fulfill its responsibilities to seniors in Québec. – CNW

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