Results-based Plan Briefing Book 2011-12 arrow Ontario Senior's Secretariat

ONTARIO SENIORS’ SECRETARIAT

KEY STRATEGY: PLANNING FOR AN AGING POPULATION

Ontario’s population aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from 1.8 million in 2009 (13.7 per cent of the total population) to 4.1 million by 2036 (23.2 per cent of the total population). By 2017, for the first time, seniors will account for a larger share of the population than children 14 years of age and under.

A high degree of collaboration between governments, business and broader communities, as well as seniors themselves, is required to address the impact that this demographic shift will have on areas such as accommodation and housing, health, financial security, safety and security, employment and volunteer opportunities, and age-friendly communities.

Ontario seniors want a voice in planning for our aging population and support to help them remain independent and involved in their communities to maximize their potential and opportunities.

In 2011-12, the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat (OSS) will support these goals through a close working relationship with 11 of Ontario’s major seniors’ organizations.  The Secretariat will: 

Accommodation (Housing)

  • Focus on leading the implementation of the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, which received Royal Assent on June 8, 2010.  This legislation, for the first time in Ontario’s history provides the framework to strengthen the care and services provided to seniors living in retirement homes.  It also established the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority.  The Authority will be responsible for licensing retirement homes and conducting inspections, investigations and enforcement, including issuing financial penalties or revoking licenses if necessary.  The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat will be providing the ongoing oversight of the start-up of the Authority.
  • Opportunities for seniors’ organizations to provide input to government on the affordable and accessible housing needs of seniors will be created through initiatives like the Affordable Housing Program.

Financial Security

  • Work with partner Ministries and seniors’ organizations to improve seniors’ financial literacy and their access to benefits resulting from initiatives related to pension reform, Harmonized Sales Tax, and personal income tax. For example, promoting the Filing Your Tax campaign to improve seniors’ access to benefits through the tax system, including the Ontario Sales Tax Transition Benefit.

Safety and Security

  • Continue to implement Ontario’s Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse, and co-lead with the federal government federal / provincial / territorial elder abuse initiatives.
  • Educate seniors on financial abuse and fraud through partnerships with financial, judicial and community organizations.
  • Raise awareness of the sexual safety of older women to implement Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan by working with the Ontario Women’s Directorate and partners to support an international forum on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2011.

Healthy Aging

  • Advocate for seniors to be actively engaged and promote health aging and lifestyles.
  • Support the development of the government’s 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
  • Support knowledge exchange of innovative technologies that advance healthy and independent aging through initiatives like the Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology. OSS is participating on the Steering Committee for this conference to be held in June 2011.

Employment/Volunteerism

  • Work with partner ministries to recognize the contributions of seniors to families, communities and society while promoting their participation in the workforce and volunteer activities.
  • Continue to partner with the Honours and Awards Secretariat, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to present the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards and the Ontario Senior of the Year Award to highlight the many facets of seniors’ contributions to their communities.

Age-Friendly Communities

  • Encourage active aging by optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security through a call to action to communities to undertake a process of assessing and improving their age-friendliness across eight areas: outdoor spaces and buildings; community support and health services; communication and information; civic participation and employment; respect and social inclusion; social participation; housing; and transportation.
  • Work in collaboration with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, members of the academic community and other partners to support communities in becoming more age-friendly.

Federal/Provincial/Territorial Collaboration

  • Provide leadership on intergovernmental collaboration on issues of importance to Canadian seniors by hosting the 13th annual meeting of Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors in 2011.  Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Seniors will host and co-chair the meeting with the federal Minister of State (Seniors).

Highlights of 2010-11 Results

  • The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat led the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 through the legislative process and on June 8, 2010, the Act received Royal Assent, marking the first time in Ontario’s history that provincial legislation will protect seniors living in retirement homes.
  • The Act also established the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, a new regulatory body responsible for the administration of the Act. The Authority’s responsibilities include the licensing of retirement homes, enforcement of the care and safety standards for residents, and educating licensees, consumers and the public on legislative requirements and standards. 
  • Ontario communities are better equipped to reduce elder abuse and promote age-friendly environments that are more responsive to the needs of seniors and support their civic participation.
  • More seniors live healthier lifestyles, are engaged in advocating for seniors of today and tomorrow, and access the services to which they are entitled.  
  • More senior friendly policy development across government.

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