Minister of State Announces National Senior's Day

Members of CARP,

Last week, on June 16th the Government of Canada introduced legislation in the House of Commons to create a national day of recognition for seniors. The Bill, titled Celebrating Canada’s Seniors Act supports the creation of a National Seniors Day to recognize the significant and continuing contributions seniors make to their families, communities, workplaces and society. National Seniors Day would be celebrated every year on October 1st, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons.

The creation of a National Seniors Day is not intended to be a substitute for concrete action to help seniors. The Day builds on the Government’s long and solid record of implementing measures on behalf of seniors including providing $2.3 billion in new tax relief, increases to the Guaranteed Income Supplement, funding to increase awareness of elder abuse and increased funding to support the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Our government recognizes the importance of supporting seniors and seniors’ issues and is working hard to ensure that our policies, programs and services are meeting – and will continue to meet – their needs.

There is great value in creating a National Seniors Day. Formally recognizing this day will raise awareness among Canadians of all ages of the valuable role seniors play in Canadian society. It is a way for Canada to publicly acknowledge and thank seniors for their many and varied contributions to the social and economic fabric of this country.

Members of the National Seniors Council (NSC) were meeting in Ottawa for their annual face-to-face meeting the day our government tabled National Seniors Day legislation. Since 2007, the NSC has met with seniors and seniors’ organizations across Canada in its examination of 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.

At the face-to-face meeting the NSC began work on their next priorities and also officially released their report titled Report of the National Seniors Council on Volunteering Among Seniors and Positive and Active Aging. A copy of the report can be found at: Read more

The Council’s report contains 18 suggestions for action for the Government of Canada to consider. We are pleased to say that the Government of Canada is already taking action in a number of these areas, including our support for the creation of a National Seniors Day, increased funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program, and our Speech from the Throne commitment to establish a Prime Minister’s Award for Volunteering.

In terms of its new priorities, the NSC has been asked to look at labour force participation and intergenerational relations. Seniors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the workplace that they are able to share with younger workers. With a looming labour shortage as a result of an aging population and Canadians living longer healthier lives, more people will choose to work beyond sixty years of age. It is therefore extremely important we find out what conditions and opportunities might entice senior Canadians to continue working full time or part time beyond current retirement age. It is equally important to study and discuss relations between the senior and younger generations as the population ages. I look forward to reading the NSC’s recommendations and hopefully implementing their suggestions for action on this subject.