--- Hull-Aylmer Senior Council meets with minister and local members of parliament to discuss seniors’ issues in the region
Members of the Hull-Aylmer Senior Council met with Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte (King—Vaughan, Ont.), Liberal MP Greg Fergus (Hull-Aylmer, Que.) and Parliamentary Secretary of Seniors Stéphane Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, Que.), to discuss issues seniors are facing during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, on a virtual meeting on November 3.
Lauzon said health care and mental health of seniors was one of the most important topics discussed during the meeting, with many seniors more isolated than ever at home during the pandemic. Lauzon says the biggest challenge for seniors during the pandemic is supports for the delivery of medication and food, as well as the lack of support for families who are not allowed to go see the senior members of their families in long-term care homes.
The council was set up by Fergus, who after meeting with several senior organizations, decided to form a council to help the Ministry of Seniors make informed policy choices. Fergus stated that the purpose of the council was to get input from seniors about problems such as public pension supplements, elder abuse and home care, according to a press release on his website.
Lauzon says the federal government has an important role in addressing the problems that affect older demographics across the country. While health care and long-term care remain a provincial jurisdiction, Lauzon says all levels of government have been working collaboratively to address problems that have arisen during the pandemic, with the federal government rolling out several federal funding announcements.
In early May, the government announced a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The government also expanded the New Horizons Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million, a program that provides projects to help reduce social isolation among seniors. “Our government bases its decisions on facts,” said Lauzon. “We decided to consult the population and, in the case of seniors, we are in roundtables like this all the time.”
Lauzon says his ministry will continue to have these discussions with councils across the country. Minister Schulte also announced the establishment of a seniors’ council at the national level.