Seniors play an important role in communities across Canada. They have shaped our country, raised a generation and fought for our rights and freedoms. Today they continue to share their knowledge, time and expertise.
Seniors are vibrant, powerful and influential mentors, and leaders. They have contributed generously, building our families, our communities, our workplaces and our country.
That is why the Government of Canada created National Seniors Day—an official day to recognize the significant ways in which seniors have and continue to contribute to our communities.
October 1, 2011 will mark Canada’s first annual National Seniors Day.
Our government understands the importance of supporting seniors and seniors’ issues, and we are working hard to ensure that our policies, programs and services are meeting—and will continue to meet—seniors’ needs.
National Seniors Day is one of a number of initiatives that the Government of Canada has undertaken in recent years. In the most recent federal budget last June, the Government introduced the following:
• a new Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) top-up benefit to help Canada’s most vulnerable seniors;
• $10 million over two years to increase funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program, bringing the program’s total 2011–2012 budget to $45 million; and
• $50 million over two years to extend the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers until 2013–2014.
The Government of Canada has brought about a number of initiatives in support of seniors:
- providing close to $72 billion this year through Canada’s public pension system;
- providing $2.3 billion annually 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 Budget 2009 for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors;
- supporting positive and active aging through the collaborative Age-Friendly Communities Initiative, Physical Activity Tips for Older Adults, and fall-prevention initiatives;
- appointing a Minister of State (Seniors) – someone who can bring the concerns of older Canadians to the Cabinet table and stand up on their behalf;
- establishing October 1st as National Seniors Day to recognize the significant and ongoing contributions seniors make to families, communities, workplaces and society;
- creating the National Seniors Council in 2007 to provide advice to the federal government on matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors; and
- investing $13 million over three years in support of the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI) which successfully concluded on March 31, 2011. Building on the momentum created through the FEAI, which featured an awareness campaign, the Government of Canada remains active in addressing elder abuse through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
We are proud of Canada’s seniors. We value what they have done for our country, and they deserve our thanks. National Seniors Day is our time to join together as a nation to honour Canadian seniors.
I encourage you to find your own unique way to celebrate the seniors in your life. Perhaps send a simple thank-you note to a senior, whom you know. Or put up a National Seniors Day poster in your workplace.
To all the seniors who continue to help build this country, thank you.
Leon Benoit, MP