Alberta Election: Healthcare and Seniors Poverty Ballot issues for older Canadians


April 30, 2015

Alberta Election: Healthcare and Seniors Poverty Ballot issues for older Canadians: Seniors Vote/ Le Vote Des Aînés reminds party leaders that seniors vote

Toronto, ON: Seniors Vote/ Le Vote Des Aînés is calling on all parties in the Alberta election to commit to act on healthcare reform and retirement security – issues that would resonate with Alberta’s 450,000 seniors.

With the polls predicting a tight election race, the parties should be asking what are the ballot questions for Alberta’s 450,000 seniors. Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés offers the party leaders some answers -including equitable access to home care and prescription medication and measures to prevent seniors’ poverty and to help Canadians of all ages save for their retirement.

Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés is endorsed by a nation-wide group of national and regional seniors and retirees, advocacy and professional associations, including their Alberta based counterparts. Click here to see full list of endorsers. 

The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta [CARNA] is pleased to support the Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés campaign because it recognizes that the health and well-being of older adults requires a multi-faceted approach.  Health depends on factors such as sufficient income and affordable housing as well as a proactive approach to improving health and preventing illness.  In this provincial election, we urge Albertans to ask their election candidates where they stand on these issues.”
– Dr. Shannon Spenceley, president. College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

The many seniors organizations on Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force have been speaking out for real solutions to the crisis in our homecare and continuing care systems for seniors. Now is the time for seniors across Alberta to vote for politicians who are committed to take real action to address these pressing senior’s issues.

Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta

“Politicians are realizing that seniors are the most avid voters. Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés has identified the major ballot issues for seniors across Canada, including Alberta. Addressing these issues in the run up to Election Day could make the difference in which party becomes government.”

Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP

“Pensioners are tired of watching their standard of living deteriorate while the distribution of wealth in Canada becomes more inequitable. They’re worried about their children and grandchildren who not only have no workplace pension but are having trouble getting jobs in this economy. These reforms are for them.”

 Herb John, President, National Pensioners Federation

Action at the provincial level is essential to achieving the objectives endorsed by the organizations in Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés which represents almost 2 million people. That is why national organizations are highlighting our common issues in every province.”
– Pat Kerwin President, Congress of Union Retirees of Canada

Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés calls on the candidates of all parties seeking office in the Alberta election to:

  • Fund and set national home care standardswith other provinces to improve access, affordability, and quality of post-acute and chronic care, in the home and in the community, with particular focus on dementia care
  • Increase financial support and provide workplace protection for caregivers
  • Work with other provinces to ensure every Canadian has access to housing appropriate to need, including affordable and supportive housing, and assisted living services
  • Address growing income inequalitythat increasingly affects Canadians of all ages
  • Work with other provinces and federal government to increase the CPP
  • Encourage the federal government to strengthen income support by
    • Restoring the OAS eligibility age to 65 from 67
    • Increase the exempt earnings band for GIS
    • Increasing the amount of OAS and GIS for low income seniors
  • Work with other provinces and federal government to create a national pharmacareplan, with an ultimate goal of first dollar coverage for all Canadians

Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés is endorsed by a nation-wide group of national and regional seniors and retirees, advocacy and professional associations including the National Pensioners Federation, CARP, Réseau FADOQ, Congress of Union Retirees of Canada, International Federation on Aging, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian Legion [Ontario], Older Women’s Network, retired teachers, university and college professors, public servants, police and health care workers.

Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés’ original letter to Canada’s finance ministers issued ahead of the federal budget with more details of the recommendations may be found at: 

For Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés:

Pat Kerwin 613-236-1326
President, CURC
[email protected]

Susan Eng 416-607-2475
Vice President, Advocacy CARP
[email protected]

Herb John 519-350-3221
President, National Pensioners Federation
[email protected]

Shannon Spenceley 780-909-7058
President, College and Association of
Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA)
[email protected]

For media inquiries, please contact:

Sarah Park   416-607-2471
[email protected]

Michael Nicin   416-607-2479
[email protected]

Anna Sotnykova  416-607-2475
[email protected]

Margaret Ward-Jack  780 453-0515
[email protected]

To all Ministers of Finance and Opposition Finance Critics

Seniors Vote is a collaboration of seniors, retirees, professional and advocacy groups raising common concerns which particularly resonate with older Canadians – financial security in retirement and healthcare reform. The attached details the recommendations for the upcoming federal budget and our priority issues for the 2015 federal election.

It is now common knowledge that older Canadians are the most committed voters; 65% or more of older voters turnout to vote regularly.  Older Canadians are also among the most politically engaged voters whose past party loyalty cannot be taken for granted. This has led all political parties to ask: “What do seniors want?”

And the answer has been the call for the kind of transformative change in our public systems that will make life better for all Canadians as they age. Many such reforms will only benefit future generations.

Seniors Vote calls for pension reform to ensure that people will not outlive their money by expanding access to pension savings and increasing income support.

The call for healthcare reform demands that Canadians not be treated as health consumers or merely patients, but rather as “healthcare citizens” who pay for the system and expect it to serve the broad values set out in the Canada Health Act – universality, accessibility and comprehensiveness. To do this, the healthcare system must undergo transformative change and centre itself around the needs and expectations of the healthcare citizen, to not only provide medical intervention but also support prevention and social determinants of health, the family caregiver and end of life care

Seniors want to stay in their own homes but too often programs like homecare are not there for them to do so. There is a need for a national housing strategy that includes seniors housing. Access to affordable and suitable housing is a major determinant of health, an instrument to reduce poverty and a critical component of age-friendly communities.

Income inequality is growing in Canada. More seniors are falling below the poverty line. Seniors are also concerned that too many of their children and grandchildren are facing precarious work and a bleak future.

It is clear that Seniors indeed vote. This sets out what Seniors will vote for. Today’s ballot questions are the blueprint for our children’s tomorrow.

Seniors Vote is endorsed by:

  1. Income and Retirement Security

Achieving income security in working life and retirement is increasingly difficult for Canadians of all ages.

  • Nearly 5 million Canadians live in poverty
  • 12 percent of seniors still live in poverty, amounting to more 600,000 people
  • 1 in 6 single seniors live in poverty, most of whom are women
  • Twelve million working Canadians do not have workplace pension plans and significant numbers of Canadians will face a substantial drop in their standard of living on retirement
  • Younger working Canadians will have especially limited access to workplace pensions

Seniors Vote calls on the federal government to:

  • Work with provinces to increase the CPP
  • Strengthen income support by
    • Restoring the OAS eligibility age to 65 from 67
    • Increase the exempt earnings band for GIS
    • Increasing the amount of OAS and GIS for low income seniors
  • Increase income supports for low-income single older Canadians not yet eligible for OAS by creating an equivalent to the OAS spousal allowance
  • Prohibit retroactive erosion of earned pension benefits
  1. Federal Leadership on Healthcare Transformation

Healthcare remains the highest priority for Canadians who are calling for transformative change.

  • Older Canadians and their families find the system inadequate to the task of meeting their post-acute and chronic care needs, very difficult to navigate, and incomplete
  • Over 8 million caregivers provide invaluable support to family members and the formal health system, without adequate support from employers and government
  • Poverty, social isolation, a poor physical environment, and inadequate housing leads to poor health outcomes. Investments in prevention and in the social determinants of health could save the system money and produce better health outcomes for Canadians
  • Transforming the healthcare system to better work for all Canadians requires federal leadership

Seniors Vote calls on the federal government to:

  • Work with the provinces to create a national pharmacare plan, with an ultimate goal of first dollar coverage for all Canadians
  • Work with the provinces to fund and set standards to improve access, affordability, and quality of post-acute and chronic care, in the home and in the community, with particular focus on dementia care
  • Increase financial support and provide workplace protection for caregivers
  • Work with the provinces to ensure every Canadian has access to housing appropriate to need, including affordable and supportive housing, and assisted living services

Aux ministres des Finances et aux porte-paroles de l’opposition en matière de finances

L’initiative Le vote des aînés est le fruit d’une collaboration entre des associations de personnes âgées et retraitées, des associations professionnelles et des groupes d’intérêts qui soulèvent ensemble des questions particulièrement importantes pour les aînés canadiens : la sécurité financière à la retraite et la réforme de la santé. Le document ci-joint reprend des recommandations détaillées pour le prochain budget fédéral ainsi que nos enjeux prioritaires pour les élections fédérales de 2015.

Les aînés canadiens sont de fait les électeurs les plus assidus. Au moins 65 % des personnes appartenant à cette tranche d’âge se rendent régulièrement aux urnes. Les aînés canadiens sont également parmi les électeurs les plus engagés politiquement et il ne faut pas tenir pour acquise leur loyauté passée à un parti donné. Tout cela a conduit les partis politiques à demander aux aînés quels sont leurs souhaits.

Les aînés ont répondu qu’ils voulaient une réforme des programmes publics pour améliorer la vie de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes à mesure qu’ils prennent de l’âge. Bon nombre de ces réformes ne profiteront qu’aux générations futures.

L’initiative Le vote des aînés appelle à une réforme des retraites pour que les aînés ne se retrouvent pas démunis financièrement avec le temps. Il s’agirait d’élargir l’accès à l’épargne-retraite et d’augmenter le supplément de revenus.

Dans le cadre d’une réforme de la santé, les Canadiennes et Canadiens ne doivent pas être traités comme de simples consommateurs de soins de santé ou patients, mais au contraire comme « des citoyennes et citoyens de la santé » qui paient pour le système de santé et s’attendent à ce qu’il respecte les grands principes de la Loi canadienne sur la santé — universalité, accessibilité et intégralité. La réforme du système de santé suppose donc de répondre aux besoins et attentes des citoyennes et citoyens de la santé, non seulement en termes de soins médicaux, mais aussi en matière de prévention et de soutien aux déterminants sociaux de la santé, aux aidants naturels et aux soins en fin de vie.

Les aînés veulent pouvoir rester chez eux, mais le manque de programmes adaptés tels que des services de soins à domicile les en empêche souvent. Il faut élaborer une stratégie nationale du logement qui propose également des solutions pour le logement des aînés. L’accès à un logement abordable et adapté est un déterminant très important de la santé, un moyen de réduire la pauvreté et une caractéristique indispensable des collectivités amies des aînés.

L’inégalité des revenus est en augmentation au Canada. De plus en plus de personnes âgées vivent en dessous du seuil de pauvreté. Les aînés s’inquiètent également de ce que l’avenir réserve à un trop grand nombre de leurs enfants et petits-enfants en termes de précarité d’emploi et de perspectives limitées.

Il est clair que les aînés ont une voix et qu’ils s’en servent. Ce document précise tout aussi clairement ce pour quoi les aînés voteront. Les enjeux électoraux d’aujourd’hui doivent servir de modèle pour l’avenir de nos enfants.

L’initiative Le vote des aînés est approuvée par :

  1. Sécurité des revenus et des retraites

La sécurité des revenus pendant la vie active et la retraite est de plus en plus difficile à atteindre pour les Canadiennes et Canadiens de tous âges.

  • Près de 5 millions de Canadiennes et de Canadiens vivent dans la pauvreté.
  • 12 % des aînés, soit plus de 600 000 personnes, continuent de vivre dans la pauvreté.
  • 1 personne âgée sur 6 vivant seul vit dans la pauvreté, elles sont majoritairement des femmes.
  • Douze millions de travailleuses et travailleurs canadiens ne bénéficient pas de régime de retraite d’un employeur et un grand nombre de Canadiennes et de Canadiens subiront une importante baisse de leur niveau de vie au moment de la retraite.
  • Les jeunes travailleuses et travailleurs canadiens, notamment, seront très peu nombreux à bénéficier de régimes de retraite d’un employeur.

L’initiative Le vote des aînés appelle le gouvernement fédéral à

  • travailler avec les provinces pour augmenter les prestations du RPC,
  • augmenter le soutien aux revenus par les moyens suivants :
    • Rétablir l’âge d’admissibilité à la SV de 67 a 65 ans,
    • Relever le plafond d’exonération des revenus pour les prestations du SRG,
    • Augmenter les prestations de la SV et du SRG pour les aînés à faibles revenus.
  • augmenter le soutien aux revenus pour les aînés vivant seuls et non encore admissibles à la SV en créant un équivalent de l’allocation de conjoint du SV,
  • proscrire l’érosion rétroactive des prestations de retraite gagnées.
  1. Leadership du gouvernement fédéral sur la réforme de la santé

La santé reste la priorité numéro un pour les Canadiens et les Canadiennes qui appellent à la réforme des programmes.

  • Les aînés canadiens et leurs familles trouvent le système inadapté et qu’il ne répond pas aux besoins des patients en phase post-aiguë et souffrant de maladies chroniques. Ils le qualifient de très difficile à naviguer et incomplet.
  • Plus de 8 millions d’aidants apportent une aide précieuse aux membres des familles et au système de santé officiel, sans recevoir de soutien adéquat des employeurs et du gouvernement.
  • La pauvreté, l’isolement social, un mauvais environnement physique et l’insuffisance de logements adaptés contribuent aux problèmes de santé. Investir dans la prévention et dans les déterminants sociaux de la santé pourrait permettre au système de santé d’économiser sur les coûts et contribuer à améliorer la santé des Canadiennes et des Canadiens.
  • Réformer et améliorer le système de santé au profit de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes requiert le leadership du gouvernement fédéral.

L’initiative Le vote des aînés appelle le gouvernement fédéral à

  • travailler avec les provinces pour créer un régime public d’assurance-médicaments dont l’objectif ultime serait une couverture à 100 % pour tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes,
  • travailler avec les provinces pour financer et définir des normes pour améliorer l’accès, y compris financier, et la qualité des soins aux patients en phase post-aiguë et souffrant de maladies chroniques, aux soins à domicile et dans la collectivité, en mettant l’accent notamment sur les soins aux patients atteints de démence,
  • augmenter le soutien financier et fournir une protection aux aidants sur leur lieu de travail,
  • travailler avec les provinces pour que tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes soient garantis d’avoir accès à un logement adapté à leurs besoins, y compris les programmes de logement abordable et avec services de soutien, ainsi qu’aux services d’aide à la vie autonome.
National Pensioners Federation (NPF) National advocacy organization of seniors groups and individuals
CARP National advocacy organization for older Canadians
Réseau FADOQ Quebec Seniors advocacy organization
Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC)  Union retirees across Canada
International Federation on Ageing (IFA) International  advocacy NGO
College of Family Physicians of Canada Family physicians across Canada
CURAC National college and university retiree organizations
National Association of Federal Retirees  Retired public servants, veterans and RCMP
Canadian Association of Retired Teachers
Retired teachers from 10 provinces and Yukon territory
Canadian Alliance of United Seniors (CAUS) Seniors organization
Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO) Advocacy group for 75+ BC seniors’ organizations
Professional Institute of the Public Sector of Canada Government scientists and professionals
Service Employees International Union Retirees (SEIU) Retired Healthcare workers
Communications Workers of Canada Retirees Council Communications industry retirees
Unifor Retirees Retired workers from a cross section of industries across Canada
Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Retired Steelworkers and spouses
Police Pensioners Association of Ontario (PPAO) Retired police and civilians
Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR) Ontario retirees
Retired Members Division of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Retired Ontario public employees
PEI Federation of Union Retirees PEI retirees
Saskatchewan Seniors Association Incorporated (SSAI) Saskatchewan Seniors
Saskatchewan Union Retirees Federation Saskatchewan retirees
BC Federation of Retired Union Members BC retirees
Alberta Federation of Union Retirees Alberta retirees
Nova Scotia Government Retired Employees Association (NSGREA) Retired Nova Scotia public servants
Nova Scotia Federation of Union Retirees Nova Scotia retirees
Federation of Senior Citizens and Pensioners of Nova Scotia (FSCPNS) Nova Scotia seniors
New Brunswick Federation of Union Retirees New Brunswick retirees
Manitoba Federation of Union Retirees Manitoba retirees
The British Columbia Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA) Retired teachers
The Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ERO) College, university, school faculty and support staff
Social Services Network (SSN) Social services agency serving South Asian community in York region
CUPE Ontario-Retirees-Network Retired Ontario public employees
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic Legal Aid Clinic
Toronto and York Region Labour Council Retirees Network Toronto and York Region unionized workers and families
Colour of Poverty/Colour of Change Network (COPC) Ontario  anti-poverty, anti-racism network
Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) Toronto and York Region Council (T&YR Council) Toronto and York Region retirees
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) ARM Chp 9, 11,12 Retired high school teachers and support staff in Toronto, Windsor and London
National Union of Public and General Employees  (NUPGE) National association of provincial employees
The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Command  Represents  veterans, their dependants and those still serving in the Canadians Forces
Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) National association of registered nurses
Older Women’s Network (Ontario) Advocacy organization for older women in Ontario
Quebec Provincial Association of Retired School Educators QPARSE-APPERQ   Retired educators from English schools in Quebec
The United Senior Citizens of Ontario (USCO) Volunteer organization representing seniors in Ontario
British Columbia Old Age Pensioners Organization (BCOAPO)  Promote interests of seniors in British Columbia
Public Interest Alberta Albertan advocacy organization for the citizens of Alberta

 Plus a growing number of regional and local groups