CARP Manitoba Calls for an Independent Seniors Advocate

With an election pending, all political parties and candidates should support CARP’s call for a #SeniorsAdvocateNow in Manitoba.

A network of community-based organizations including CARP are calling upon all three political parties elected in the Manitoba legislature to improve the quality of life for older adults in our province by establishing an Office of the Seniors Advocate that would be:

1) Enshrined in legislation through an Office of the Seniors Advocate Act;

2) Independent, in that it would report to the legislative assembly rather than the government — this would be similar to the role of the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth;

3) Developed with a terms-of-reference in consultation with community-based organizations that would include a mandate for individual advocacy and system navigation, policy advocacy, research, community outreach, public education, and promote system accountability through annual monitoring and reporting of services provided to older adults in our province; and,

4) Engaged in addressing issues with an equity-based lens for Indigenous, racialized, LGBTTQ+, and persons with disabilities communities.

Key service issues that an Office of the Seniors Advocate would address include personal care homes, health care, aging-in-place, home care, transportation, culturally appropriate services, housing — including services for unhoused older adults, and income support.

The recent announcement by the provincial government to replace the Protection for Persons in Care Office with an independent body that reports to the legislature is too narrow in its mandate as it only deals with people in care.

All Manitobans believe that seniors deserve to be respected and have zero tolerance for neglecting their needs. Establishing an Office of the Seniors Advocate with a broad mandate to address both individual and policy advocacy issues, as well as focusing on the needs of older adults living in care and aging-in-place in the community could play a key role to better meet the challenges faced by older adults in our province.