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Seniors play a growing role in our society

By: Blake Richards

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:13 am

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There can be no doubt that todayís seniors play an enormous role in our economy.

According to Statistics Canada in 2011, an estimated five million Canadians were 65 years of age or older. That total is expected to double to reach 10.4 million seniors by 2036.

As life expectancies increase, seniors are also working longer. A growing number of employers are choosing to rely on our seniorsí experience, especially here in Alberta. As our countryís demographics change, this is a trend we can expect to continue.

Our government respects our seniorsí abilities. We recognize the opportunity before us in having more engaged seniors taking active roles in our communities, be it working, volunteering, seeking elected office, and setting an example of good citizenship for younger generations.

I believe itís not enough for seniors to play a growing role in our economy. We appreciate them playing a growing role in our society as well.

Our government encourages seniorsí engagement through a variety of initiatives, including the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

The NHSPís goal is to empower seniors to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences with others. Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 13,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada.

Across Canada $33.4 million was committed to more than 1,700 projects last year alone. Here in our constituency, funding supported initiatives proposed by Bow Valley College in Canmore, Didsbury and District Home Help Association, Didsbury Neighbourhood Place, Olds and District Evergreen Club, the Town of Carstairs, and Wesley First Nation.

As of May 13, our government is seeking new proposals under the NHSP. Organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding for projects that address one or more of the programís five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation, and capital assistance. The call for proposals will close on July 4. For more information on the NHSP, visit esdc.gc.ca/seniors

Of course, our government has also taken dozens of other measures to help seniors, like allowing senior couples the freedom to split their pension income, increasing the Age Credit not once but twice, and introducing the largest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 25 years.

I believe that empowering our seniors strengthens our entire country, and through initiatives like the NHSP, our government will continue encouraging seniors to play a growing role in our society.


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