The federal government must now play a leadership role in establishing a national seniors’ strategy for Canada, says a report from the IRPP Task Force on Aging.

According to the task force, only the federal government can compel all the players to adopt a truly integrated and comprehensive approach and ensure that seniors across Canada receive comparable services, regardless of where they live.

Read: Canadian seniors outnumber kids for first time ever

The task force recommends that the federal government take the following measures:

  • Focus future enhancements to GIS/OAS on the goal of ensuring no older Canadians fall below the poverty line. This will require targeted efforts to enhance the generosity of GIS/OAS for certain groups, particularly those who live alone;
  • Promote health literacy, informed decision-making and advance care planning;
  • Compel the provinces and territories to come to an agreement on minimal service standards for home, community and long-term care. To be clear, however, these standards should not be dictated by Ottawa and should emerge from a provincial/territorial consensus;
  • Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of age-friendly community initiatives across the country, identify best practice and compel the sharing of information across jurisdictions; and
  • Explore ways in which additional—and more flexible—income-support and enhanced job- protection measures can be provided to caregivers.

“Over the last decade, we’ve learned a great deal about how to meet the needs of older Canadians through solid policy research and promising local and provincial pilot projects,” says task force member Graham Fox. “The challenge now is to scale up what we know to the national level. And that can only be done successfully if Ottawa leads.”

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