Federal Retirees shares member perspectives on COVID-19 with parliamentary committee

June 10, 2021
Federal Retirees talks seniors’ issues with parliamentary committee.
In its recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Federal Retirees focused on the critical importance of a national seniors strategy.

Earlier this month, Federal Retirees briefed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA), as part of its study on COVID-19 and seniors.

Specifically, the standing committee examined the financial, social and health impacts of COVID-19 on seniors, with briefs and testimony from seniors and health advocates, academics, and experts.

Federal Retirees focused on the need to implement a national seniors strategy to optimize health, financial and social inclusions so that all Canadians can age with dignity. Such a strategy should be built on the principles of access, equity, choice, value and quality of care for older adults.

The Association tabled eight other recommendations centred on older adult health, ensuring our health-care system is strong, sustainable and safe for older adults, and mitigating the pandemic’s impacts on Canada’s retirement income security.

“Our most significant recommendation is related to national principles and standards for long-term care; tying those to funding, and ensuring there is enforcement,” says Association president Jean-Guy Soulière. “We will not forget the deadly lessons COVID-19 taught us in long-term care settings.”

The study was proposed by MP Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminister), who is the Conservatives’ shadow minister on seniors issues.

The last time the standing committee turned its attention to seniors was in support of its study Advancing Inclusion and Quality of Life for Seniors, which was tabled in Parliament in March 2018 and encompassed 29 recommendations. The report made important recommendations and reiterated recommendations made by Federal Retirees. Even now, many of those recommendations – some of which have not been acted on – are still relevant in considering where and how seniors have been most impacted by COVID-19.

“This year’s study is timely, and along with the 2018 study, the result should be a comprehensive view of where public policy needs to shift,” says Soulière. “We are finally seeing some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but we know this pandemic has hit seniors hard, and with a federal election on the horizon, we need to keep these conversations at the forefront so that our next government understands – it is 2021, and it is past time to address these issues.”

Read Federal Retirees’ brief on COVID-19 and seniors.