Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, November 30, 2007— Federal, Provincial and Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers Responsible for Seniors met for a day and a half to discuss issues affecting the overall well-being of Canada’s seniors, including elder abuse, social isolation and healthy aging. Ministers also endorsed the Age Friendly Rural and Remote Communities Guide.
The Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Secretary of State (Seniors) and Co-chair of the F/P/T meeting, underlined the commitment of F/P/T Ministers to work together to address the challenges and opportunities of Canada’s aging population.
“I am very pleased with the work taking place among F/P/T governments to ensure that issues like elder abuse are being addressed,” said Minister LeBreton. “Our government is taking the issue of elder abuse very seriously. As a society we should have zero tolerance for elder abuse in all of its ugly forms. We can make a difference on this and other issues of concern to our seniors.”
Seniors constitute a significant and growing segment of the Canadian population. The number of seniors is projected to more than double from 4.3 million today to 9.8 million by 2036, when one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65.
“We are pleased to host the 2007 F/P/T Ministers’ meeting and to work together to address issues facing seniors today,” said Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health Don McMorris, the other co-chair of the meeting. “As the new Saskatchewan government sworn into office this past week, we have made a clear commitment to seniors – to ensuring their wellness, safety and security, free of abuse of any form.”
Over the last year, F/P/T Ministers Responsible for Seniors have undertaken collaborative work on a number of fronts, while respecting each other’s areas of jurisdiction and priorities.
Earlier this month, an F/P/T-sponsored Working Forum on elder abuse was held in conjunction with the Canadian Conference on Elder Law in Vancouver, B.C. Building on its success, another working forum, with a specific focus on the issue of financial abuse, is planned for 2008.
Ministers committed to working collectively and within their respective jurisdictions to continue addressing elder abuse. They also agreed to explore options for making information and best practices more readily available.
On the international front, Canada will again join other countries to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2008. Resource materials have been developed in support of this important event.
Ministers also considered the problem of social isolation among seniors and endorsed Working Together with Seniors – A Toolkit to Promote Seniors’ Social Integration in Community Services, Programs and Policy. As well, Ministers discussed opportunities to further their interest in promoting healthy aging.
The presentation of the Age Friendly Rural and Remote Communities Guide by Ministers to the World Health Organization (WHO) underlined Canada's contribution to the WHO's work of helping communities around the world meet the needs of an aging population. Dr. Louise Plouffe accepted the guide on behalf of the WHO and thanked F/P/T Ministers for sharing this important work.
In the new year, F/P/T Ministers will reconvene to focus on the most pressing needs of today’s seniors such as financial security and promoting positive images of aging, and the conditions that will enable tomorrow’s seniors to live independently as full and active members of society.
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