National Seniors Council to examine social isolation of seniors

Aug 08, 2013, 15:30 ET from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today announced the National Seniors Council's new priority for 2013-2014 is to assess how social isolation affects seniors and explore ways to prevent and reduce the social isolation of seniors in Canada.

"Social isolation affects the health and well-being of seniors," said Minister of State Wong. "That's why it's so important to address this issue by listening to seniors and consulting with key players from the non-profit, public and private sectors."

Social isolation can lead to depression and increased vulnerability to elder abuse, among other concerns. As a complex and multifaceted issue, social isolation touches many policy areas affecting seniors, including active participation, healthy ageing, income security, caregiving, elder abuse and transportation.

In keeping with the Minister of State's commitment to ensuring that seniors stay active, engaged and informed, the National Seniors Council (NSC) will consider the Government of Canada's role in preventing and reducing the social isolation of seniors.

Last year, the NSC explored approaches to retaining and attracting older workers in the labour force. The final report, Older Workers at Risk of Withdrawing from the Labour Force or Becoming Unemployed: Employers' views on how to retain and attract older workers, is now available online.

In 2012, the NSC conducted cross-country consultations with stakeholders and employers representing a variety of sectors. During the consultations, employers recognized the experience, knowledge, skills and passion that older workers bring to the workplace.

The Government of Canada established the NSC in 2007 to provide advice on the overall well-being of seniors, both now and in the future.

For more information on the NSC, visit


The National Seniors Council (NSC):

The NSC advises on all matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse seniors' population.

  • The Council reports to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and to the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health.  The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Council.

  • NSC members include seniors, representatives of organizations who serve seniors and/or experts on seniors and ageing.

The Government of Canada is working hard to help improve the lives of seniors on many fronts. These efforts include:

  • developing as a central resource for seniors on government benefits and services, including finances, housing, health and wellness;

  • providing Canadians with close to $76 billion this year through Canada's public pension system;

  • a top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 2011 to help Canada's most vulnerable seniors. This was the largest increase in 25 years to the GIS for the lowest-income seniors. This measure further improves the financial security and well-being of more than 680 000 seniors across Canada;

  • providing $2.7 billion in 2013 in additional tax relief to seniors and pensioners through measures such as pension income splitting and increasing the Age credit;

  • providing $400 million over two years under Canada's Economic Action Plan for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors;

  • actions to address elder abuse, which include awareness campaigns, the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), which funds projects to raise awareness of elder abuse, and legislation that helps ensure consistently tough penalties for offences involving the abuse of seniors;

  • increasing funding to the NHSP by $5 million, bringing the Program's annual budget to $45 million. The Program helps seniors use their leadership abilities, energy and skills to benefit communities across Canada; and

  • supporting positive and active ageing through the collaborative Age-Friendly Communities Initiative, Physical Activity Tips for Older Adults, and falls-prevention initiatives.

SOURCE Human Resources and Skills Development Canada