Bring back Alberta’s independent seniors advocate

Concerned adult man.

Older Albertans deserve better. Join Federal Retirees’ campaign to bring back the province’s independent seniors’ advocate.

Alberta is currently home to more than 665,000 seniors. That number is expected to double in the next two decades as seniors are the fastest growing age cohort in the province. The need for a dedicated advocate to protect the rights and interests of older adults and their caregivers has never been greater.

It’s time for an independent and effective seniors advocate for the province of Alberta. It’s time that older adults and caregivers in Alberta have a non-partisan advocate looking out for their best interests, making sure their needs are being met and ensuring their rights are being respected.

Tell your MLA it’s time to bring back an independent seniors advocate in Alberta!

Previously, Alberta led the country with the creation of a seniors advocate position. That role was particularly effective and moved Alberta to the forefront in Canada on a variety of critical seniors’ issues. Unfortunately, this role was not retained by Premier Jason Kenney’s government as a truly independent advocate and was amalgamated with the health advocate at the end of 2019.

When the Kenney government announced the merged advocate positions, they said it would create efficiencies for seniors and their families and save half a million dollars.  

But it’s become clear that seniors’ interests are not being served. In the last year of independent operation, the issues dealt with by the seniors advocate had less than a 30 per cent overlap with health concerns and in many of those cases, the primary issue was not the health component.

But seniors’ interests, needs and rights are not just about health. Older Albertans cannot and should not be reduced to a population with health problems. A seniors advocate must deal with the broad range of issues that impact older Albertans — from housing, to transportation, to food and income security.

This was not an efficiency-gaining merger. Any mention of “senior” or “seniors” is simply absent on the provincial health advocates websites. It’s as though the subject matter and the role have disappeared.

Federal Retirees and other seniors’ organizations in Alberta are coming together to ask the Premier to do the right thing. 

Tell your MLA it’s time to bring back an independent seniors’ advocate in Alberta! Use the form below to contact your member of the Legislative Assembly. We’ve already put together a message for you, but feel free to add to it or write your own.