National Pensioners Federation

New Micro-Grant Program Will Help Combat Social Isolation

The Ontario government is providing $467,500 to the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO) to administer the new Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants program and other capacity building initiatives. The funding will support a broad range of seniors’ organizations and help people stay connected to their communities through telephone-based social and educational programs.
The announcement was made today by Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility.
The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants will help organizations deliver remote teleconference programming to meet the unique needs of older adults in Indigenous and Francophone communities, as well as seniors living in rural and remote areas of the province.
Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations that serve seniors are eligible to apply for the program until September 30, 2020. Visit the OACAO’s webpage to find full program guidelines and access an online application.
This work builds on Ontario’s commitment to help seniors stay independent, healthy and active within their communities. In June, the government announced an investment of up to $4 million for the Seniors Community Grant program, which provides funding for non-profit organizations, local services boards or Indigenous groups to develop programming for seniors.

QUICK FACTS

  • The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls model is a free interactive telephone-based group program for socially isolated seniors and people with disabilities who find it difficult to leave their homes.
  • By 2023, there will be three million Ontarians over the age of 65; this is the province’s fastest growing demographic.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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BC Supreme Court Decision re: Cambie Surgeries Case a victory for public health care in Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cambie ruling a victory for public health care in Canada

(Unceded Coast Salish Territories – Vancouver, BC) In today’s landmark ruling in the Cambie Surgery Centre case, Justice Steeves dealt a strong blow to the efforts of Dr. Brian Day and others to undermine Canada’s publicly-funded health care system. The decade-long legal attack launched by one of the largest for-profit surgical centres in Canada sought to invalidate key sections of the BC Medicare Protection Act (MPA). This decision ensures that access to health care will continue to be based on need and not on ability to pay. “This is a historic victory against profit-driven health care in Canada,” said Dr. Danyaal Raza, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “We know that single-payer publicly-funded health care is the fairest way to pay for health care, rather than forcing patients to pay out-of-pocket or buy private insurance. This case was never about wait times – it was always about profit.” The sections of the MPA that the plaintiffs sought to strike down are in place to preserve a public health care system in which access to necessary medical care is based on need and not an individual’s ability to pay. This case has always been about increasing profits for doctors and investor-owned health care facilities. “As a group of patients, doctors and health care advocates, we became involved in this case in order to defend and protect public health care,” said Edith MacHattie, co-chair of the BC Health Coalition. “This is a victory for everyone who uses health care in Canada. Even though the attack had been launched in BC, it took aim at the very heart of the Canada Health Act and every provincial health care insurance plan.” Justice Steeves’ ruling affirmed that access to health care be based on need and not the ability to pay. He wrote that the sections of the MPA challenged in this case are in keeping with the “objectives of preserving and ensuring the sustainability of the universal public healthcare system and ensuring access to necessary medical services is based on need and not the ability to pay.” The recent public health emergency caused by COVID-19 has underscored just how important our public health care system is. This decision protects our ability to endure crises and care for one other into the future. ——————————————————————————————————————————————– About the Intervenors: The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare, along with two doctors and two patients, are Intervenors in this case. The BC Health Coalition (BCHC) advocates for evidence-based improvements to our public health care system, stimulates public education on health care issues, and drives positive change to our health care system through campaigns across the province. Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada’s universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.

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OAS 2020 Increase Liberal Promise Delayed

Dear Ms Jamieson,

Thank you for your email to MP Qualtrough, inquiring on the progress of the Government’s intention to increase the OAS and CPP payments to eligible seniors by 10%. When the pension increase proposal was drafted, no one could have predicted an unprecedented global pandemic less than six months later.

I reached out to my colleague at the Ministry for Seniors, MP Schulte’s Ministry, for clarification. The Ministry acknowledges that the legislation for an increase has been deferred until more stable economic times, but provided an explanation that Canadian seniors have received a near equivalent of the average $729 seniors would receive through the OAS increase.

 
This year the government is investing over twice as much on financial assistance for seniors as was committed to in their platform. ($3.8 billion compared to $1.56 billion.) Since March, the government has provided an average $375 GST top up in April, followed by a $300 OAS payment, and a $200 GIS supplemental payment in July. The GOC has also supported seniors support programs like the United Way, local food banks, and has expanded the New Horizon’s Seniors Program, to increase safe social programs, aiming to reduce social isolation for vulnerable seniors.
 
My colleague assured me that the increase is not “off the table”, and will be revisited when the economy becomes more robust again. Be assured I will bring your email to Carla’s attention at our correspondence meeting, so that she is aware of the concerns of her constituents as she represents you in Ottawa.

Regards,
Julie Stevens
Constituency Administrator
Hon. Carla Qualtrough
Member of Parliament for Delta
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

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A message from The Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors

A message from The Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially tough for seniors and their caregivers. Caregivers play a critical role in helping seniors cope as they navigate their new normal in their day-to-day lives. For some caregivers, this can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety and, in some cases, depression.

 As a caregiver, it is important to maintain the mental health and well-being of the seniors in your care. It is equally important to invest in self-care, because caregivers’ effectiveness and health can suffer if left unaddressed.

 Self-care tips for caregivers

Simple things like taking a walk, practicing your favorite hobby, taking time to meditate or relax and including yourself on the list of people you are taking care of can help to alleviate some of the daily stressors that caregivers experience.

 Support for seniors and their caregivers

The Public Health Agency of Canada has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 resources for seniors and their caregivers featuring information like how to take care of your mental health during the pandemic and what to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. They have also developed a helpful guide on Self-Care for Caregivers that talks about some common sources of stress for caregivers and how to manage them effectively.

 Gradual and safe reopening of Service Canada Centres

The Government of Canada recently announced the gradual and safe reopening of the in-person Service Canada Centres. We have put in place new safety measures to be consistent with public health guidelines, such as signage to manage physical distancing, limited seating in waiting areas, clear barriers at service counters and enhanced disinfecting of our offices. Seniors and caregivers who require in-person services should check if their local office is open. They are encouraged to make a request for an appointment through the eServiceCanada portal or access online services at Canada.ca/service-canada-home

 I appreciate this opportunity to update you on the Government’s COVID-19 response for seniors. Thank you for everything you are doing to help keep seniors healthy and supported during this challenging time.

 Together, we can and we will get through this.

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