May 30, 2011
Greetings CARP Members:
Last Wednesday, I was pleased to attend the historic launch of CARP’s downtown Toronto chapter and to bring greetings on behalf of our Premier Dalton McGuinty as well as talk to you about some issues that are important to you and CARP.
CARP’s work to promote and protect the interests, rights and quality of life for Canadians as we age has cemented its deserved reputation as a leader in effective advocacy – I applaud each and every member for their outstanding contributions.
Our government recognizes how important it is to have a strong partnership with CARP, to help us develop smart policies that will pay long-term dividends. Dividends like having the safest roads in North America – a decade long rating that is thanks in part to our innovative road safety programs, including those impacting senior drivers such as the Licence Renewal Program for those 80 and over.
Based on the most recent data available, the average fatal collision involvement rate for licensed drivers 80 years of age and over is a full 48 per cent lower that under the old program. It is unique in North America and ranks among the most stringent age-based programs – we are the only province in Canada that mandates re-testing of senior drivers, to help them to continue driving safely.
We are always looking for ways to improve and that means open, honest dialogue about what an ageing population means. Right now, our government is working towards introducing a new, secure photo identification card. It will provide seniors – and others – who cannot or have chosen not to drive, with convenient, government-issued identification. Identification that is often needed to carry our ordinary activities, such as opening a bank account, cashing a cheque or returning merchandise to a store. Our work on this has benefited greatly from the advice of CARP and other advocacy groups.
I wish CARP and its members every success today and tomorrow – and, I thank you for your dynamic work on behalf of one of Ontario’s best resources – our seniors!