This Annual Report of the St. John’s-Avalon Chapter of CARP provides a summary of Chapter activities since our last Annual General Meeting held November 20, 2008.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, consisting of Vice-President Ralph Morris, Secretary Gerry Anstey, Treasurer Roy Church, members Lorraine Best, Maurice Brewster, Mike Conran, Frank Day, Don Dooley, Tom Mayo, and myself Ed Williams as Chair, I welcome all to our 2009 Annual General Meeting. The Board of Directors meets on the first Wednesday of each month, except July and August, and has held ten meetings since our last AGM.

In addition to the necessary business part of this meeting, which concludes with the election of a new Board of Directors for 2010, I first want to thank Mr. Leo Bonnell, Chair, Provincial Advisory Committee on Aging and Seniors for agreeing to be our Guest Speaker today. He is to be commended for his involvement with issues of concern to all older citizens of this province and his message “Age is all about Attitude” is one that resonates with CARP’s New Vision of Aging in this country.

St. John’s-Avalon Chapter, one of the oldest CARP Chapters in the country, is one of thirty-three Chapters in cities from Victoria, BC to St. John’s. Chapters are organized locally to provide opportunities, through nonpartisan volunteer service, to support and promote the mission of CARP and to help the National Office stay connected to its members via community-based operations. Chapters also provide an opportunity to work with like-minded individuals to help make their communities better places in which to live.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP also seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of those in our generation by providing value-added benefits, products and services to the membership. Through its network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of the core mission of CARP.

It is evident that we live in a time when issues of concern to older Canadians deserve more attention by all levels of government. Within a few years, over half the population of Canada will be fifty-plus. The need to plan now is critical since it will not be possible to meet the new demands very easily or quickly. New ways of thinking and new approaches are needed in order to address the problems that the changing demographic will bring. Governments at all levels need to plan ahead now so that the necessary resources are available for such basics as adequate housing and special care facilities.

There is also a great need to provide pharmaceuticals for low income seniors. In fact, the need for a national pharmacare program is no less than that for our national medicare program. For low income seniors, one without the other simply does not seem to make much sense. It is on issues such as these that a strong national CARP can have an important impact in the national decision making process.