Senior and Healthy Living Secretariat

Ministers focusing on opportunities, challenges facing aging population (10/07/08)

NB 1157

July 8, 2010

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FREDERICTON (CNB) - Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for seniors have agreed on the pressing need to address the opportunities and challenges associated with the country's aging population. They reached this agreement today at their annual meeting, being held this year in Fredericton.

"In New Brunswick, we recognize the value of building partnerships and working together to enhance seniors' participation in our province," said Minister of State for Seniors Cheryl Lavoie. "Our vision is for a strong population where seniors are fully involved and continually contributing to our way of life."

Lavoie is co-chairing the meeting with Diane Ablonczy, federal minister of state for seniors.

"My colleagues and I recognize the changing Canadian landscape arising from a rapidly growing and diverse seniors' population and the need to work together to prepare for the future," said Ablonczy. "We will do this by engaging with seniors and soon-to-be seniors. Our government values their experience, wisdom and their many contributions to this country."

The ministers highlighted the need for governments, the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors, as well as families and individuals to work together to facilitate seniors' participation in Canada's economic and social life.

Recently updated demographic projections by Statistics Canada indicate that, between 2015 and 2021, the number of seniors is expected to surpass the number of children younger than 15. It is also expected that as many as one in four Canadians will be a senior by 2036, nearly double the 13.9 per cent recorded in 2009.

The ministers heard from experts about the urgency of preparing for this demographic shift. The experts noted that Canadians are living longer, healthier lives and many may want to remain in the workforce.

The ministers underlined the importance of transportation and the need to share innovative ideas that support the active involvement and mobility of seniors throughout Canada, including those in rural and remote communities. Officials will explore promising practices associated with an aging labour force and transportation.

In addition, the ministers agreed to examine how to better co-ordinate efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable seniors are aware of and can obtain federal and provincial/territorial programs.

The ministers are sponsoring the symposium, Spotlight on Images of Aging, in Montreal on Dec. 2. The event will bring together experts and professionals in the fields of aging and mass media to discuss how to promote positive and realistic images of aging and older Canadians.

The ministers will hold their 2011 annual meeting in Toronto.

10/07/08

MEDIA CONTACTS: Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522; Michelle Bakos, press secretary, Office of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, 819-994-2482; Media relations office, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 819-994-5559.

10/07/08