While the pandemic has been hard on everyone, it has been hardest on seniors. Seniors helped to build the country we know and love today, and the Government of Canada is committed to helping reduce their social isolation during this difficult period.
Today, Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, on behalf of Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, announced $97,000 in additional funding to continue the “Tri-City Project to Engage 2SLGBTQ+ Older Adults.” The project is led by the Rainbow Resource Centre and will help LGBTQ2 seniors in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton remain connected with their community and keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was provided under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) pan-Canadian stream.
The Rainbow Resource Centre will use this additional investment to engage LGBTQ2 older adults in order to address and prevent social isolation and promote social inclusion. As the organization has moved its in-person activities online, this additional funding will help the three communities deliver responsive virtual programs and services to increase social connectivity among LGBTQ2 seniors, both in their local community and in the larger rainbow community. This, in turn, will help improve seniors’ mental and physical health and well-being.
The NHSP is a federal grants and contributions program whose goal is to support projects that help improve the well-being and quality of life of seniors.
“The Government of Canada is committed to helping seniors stay connected and engaged with their communities, while staying safe during and as we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re proud to partner with the Rainbow Resource Centre on projects that improve seniors’ social inclusion and well-being in Western Canada.”
– Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on seniors. That is why it is important for the Government of Canada to continue to provide support to seniors so that they can remain active in their communities. By partnering with organizations across Canada that serve seniors, we are providing them the support they deserve.”
– Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte
“Social isolation is a silent reality experienced by many seniors, especially those living alone during COVID-19. We also know that LGBTQ2 seniors face unique barriers. Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Government of Canada supports community organizations like the Rainbow Resource Centre that play a vital role in breaking social isolation, strengthening social connections, and addressing LGBTQ2 seniors’ social needs.”
– Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger
“Rainbow Resource Centre and partners OUTSaskatoon and Edmonton Pride Seniors Group are thrilled to continue our partnership with New Horizons for Seniors Pan Canada Projects. We’ll be continuing our tri-city work to address social isolation among LGBTQ2S+ seniors by providing interactive community-based programming and working as an interprovincial team to share best practices, ideas and trends. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation for everyone and together, we are working to ensure that those who fought for LGBTQ2S+ equality and rights in the 1970s and 80s, will not be left behind.”
– Noreen Mian, Executive Director, Rainbow Resource Centre
Seniors who are socially isolated make more visits to emergency rooms, use more medication, fall more often and enter residential care sooner.
Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada. By 2037, the number of seniors will reach 9.6 million, representing close to one quarter of Canada’s population. According to census estimates, there are approximately 335,000 self-reported LGBTQ2 seniors in Canada.
The pan-Canadian stream of the NHSP supports innovative projects that create a significant impact in their communities. It invests in initiatives that address the complex needs of seniors.
The Government of Canada is investing $15 million in funding for 76 LGBTQ2 community-led projects across Canada through the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund. The Fund aims to strengthen LGBTQ2 organizations and support the critical work they do to create an equitable and consciously more inclusive Canada for LGBTQ2 communities of all ages.