June 2 will be the day Ontarians go to the polls in the next provincial election. The 2022 Provincial Election Guide was developed building on the expertise of the Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) network. It is meant to assist older adults living in Ottawa to engage with candidates during the election campaign.
This guide provides you with background information for easy reference and sample questions you may wish to ask political candidates during the election. While it is not a full list of the priority issues of older adults, it will allow you to speak with confidence about the issues that matter to you during this election.
You know best! You know the issues that matter to older adults living in Ottawa. Do not hesitate to bring up your experience and propose solutions that would benefit older adults in Ottawa and Ontario. As well, ask what candidates are prepared to do to move your issues forward.
The next elected provincial government will have a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of older adults and persons with disabilities in Ontario. You have an important role in helping shape the debate on the issues that matter to you and to all older adults.
The Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) has identified three priorities to help you get involved in this election:
- Supporting strategic leadership and developing a comprehensive older adult strategy that advances the physical, mental, social, and economic wellbeing of older adults
- Accessing a continuum of care, in English and French, wherever older adults call home, with significant investment in home and community care and improvement in long-term care now and into the future
- Creating inclusive, age-friendly communities with access to affordable and accessible housing and transportation
Your vote counts and makes a difference!
Priority #1: Supporting strategic leadership and developing a comprehensive older adult strategy
The past two years have been extremely challenging for all of us, but particularly for older adults. The pandemic impacted the health and wellbeing of older adults disproportionally and underlined the need to enhance the security and safety of older adults. The economy with rising inflation observed these past two years directly affected older adults’ economic security.
The older adult (aged 65 and over) demographic is projected to almost double in the next 25 years with the number expected to grow from 2.6 million (17.6%) in 2020 to 4.5 million (22.2%) by 2046. Further, the growth in the share and number of older adults will accelerate over the next 10-year period as the last cohorts of baby boomers turn 65 with just as many people under the age of 50 as those over the age of 50 and the largest cohort of older women over 80.
As a bilingual and inclusive Council, the COA stresses that provincial funds and policies must be managed in such a way as to serve the Francophone population of Ontario, by ensuring that older Francophone adults have access to the same services in French, including the hiring of Francophone staff, or at the very least bilingual, where required. Similarly, consideration must also be given to addressing the diverse needs of older adults across the province. Low income, language, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and health status should not be barriers to timely access to supports and services.
Priority #2: Accessing a continuum of care, in English and French, wherever older adults call home, with significant investment in home and community care and improvement in long-term care now and into the future
In Ontario, 94 percent of people, 65 years and older, live in their own homes. Ontario has approximately 56,500 older adults living in private retirement homes and 78,000 living in publicly funded long-term care homes. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported in August 2020 that most older adults want to live at home for as long as possible. Older adults can stay at home longer if they have access to community support services and home care. Unfortunately, home care is not always available to those in need, and it is estimated that one-fourth of individuals entering long-term care (LTC) have needs that could have been served in the community.
Priority #3: Creating inclusive, age-friendly communities with access to affordable and accessible housing and transportation
The Ontario housing crisis needs to be fixed. Home ownership costs are spiralling, rents have dramatically escalated, and the social housing stock is slowly diminishing, while the demand continues to rise. Older adults in the province—particularly those with low to moderate incomes—have been greatly affected by this housing crisis.
Ontario’s almost three million older adults represent a complex and dynamic cohort, with diverse living arrangements and housing needs. Over 90% of older adults want to “age in place and in the community.” However, as individuals age, they may experience challenges in finding suitable housing to accommodate their changing needs. These include difficulty in finding affordable, appropriate, and accessible housing; insufficient funds to modify their existing homes to accommodate changes in functionality and ability; and gaps in the availability of home-care services and supports that can help older adults age in place and in the community.
Your voice matters! As an older adult living in Ottawa, getting involved in the 2022 Provincial Election has never been easier! A simple way to take part is to VOTE on June 2!
Elections Ontario wants you to register to vote! Check out elections.on.ca for more information on how and where to vote.
Before the election you may wish to:
- Review the political platforms of registered parties in Ontario. A list of the parties with links can be found at elections.on.ca.
- Resources: Ways to Vote, Voting in Ontario, Accessible Voting
- Get familiar with the candidates in your electoral district. A list of candidates in each district is available through the Elections Ontario Candidate Search tool.
- Together with National Association of Federal Retirees, the COA is inviting candidates to submit short video addressing the key priorities of older adults. Links to candidates’ videos will be available through the COA website at coaottawa.ca.
- Request a meeting with local candidates to discuss your issues of concern.
- Write a formal letter or email to each of your local candidates and ask for their position on one or two issues of concern.
- Submit a letter to the editor. Brief reactions to recent news items will have a better chance of being published.
- Attend an All Candidates meeting in your electoral district. Watch your local media for information or ask your local candidate for the schedule of events.
- While at an All Candidates meeting, ask candidates questions from the COA’s 2022 Provincial Election Guide: Priorities of Older Adults.
Acknowledgement: The Council on Aging of Ottawa gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa.
Disclaimer: This Guide is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a complete list of priorities of Ottawa’s older adults. The views in this guide do not necessarily reflect the views of these funders.