May 17th, 2023

Putting seniors first: NDP MPP Vaugeois presents bill for independent advocate for older adults

QUEEN'S PARK- Today, MPP Vaugeois (Thunder Bay-Superior North) brought forward her Private Members Bill 101, 'An Act to Establish the Advocate for Older Adults,' co-sponsored by MPP Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre) for debate in the Ontario Legislature. The proposed legislation aims to create an independent Advocate for Older Adults as an officer of the Legislative Assembly, prioritizing seniors' care and addressing long-standing systemic issues.

"COVID-19 has exposed the failures in senior care, making the need for an Advocate for Older Adults urgent," said Vaugeois. "Chronic understaffing and underfunding have harmed seniors for decades and have only worsened under the Ford Government. By establishing an Advocate for Older Adults, we can ensure their voices are heard, their rights protected, and their needs met."

Home operators across the province have been inappropriately using the Trespass Act to retaliate against family members who speak out about their loved ones' living conditions. Instead of responding to family concerns, certain home operators illegally use the Act to ban them. This alarming trend further highlights the urgent need for an Advocate for Older Adults to protect the rights of families and ensure their voices are not silenced.

If passed, the Advocate for Older Adults Act would empower the Advocate to make recommendations to the government and service providers, influencing areas such as healthcare, housing, income support, personal support, and accessibility support. The Advocate would also have the authority to establish an advisory council and prepare annual reports on their activities and recommendations.

"We have seen the success of similar initiatives in other provinces like BC, and it is time for Ontario to follow suit," said Lindo. "An Advocate for Older Adults will play a vital role in monitoring and addressing systemic issues, influencing policies and practices to improve the quality of care for our seniors, including seniors with developmental disabilities. “

"This legislation is about empowering older adults, their families, and caregivers,” said Vaugeois. "It is about providing them with an independent voice and advocating for their rights and well-being. We need a system that truly supports and values this growing demographic of older adults."

After tabling this bill last session, the NDP hopes for full government support to turn it into law across Ontario. Initially, Bill 101 passed the 2nd reading; however, the Conservatives chose not to call it to committee.