Remarks from B.C. Government seniors funding announcement by BCCPA CEO

Good afternoon, everyone. Let me first take this opportunity to thank Minister Terry Lake for inviting the BC Care Providers Association to participate in this wonderful announcement that will positively impact the lives of many seniors across our province.

This Minister has always had an open door policy and a willingness to talk about and respond to concerns of not only our members – but of the over 25,000 seniors we serve each and every day.

Given he will be stepping back from public life in a few weeks, allow me to acknowledge the amazing contributions he has made to improve the lives and health of so many British Columbians – in particular, our frail elderly population. Thank you, Minister, for your leadership and support over the last four years.

I’d also like to recognize Dr. Darryl Plecas, whose report forms the basis of the announcement of significant new funding today.

Dr. Plecas has consistently demonstrated a profound interest in the issue of seniors care — having visited a number of care homes across the province during his tenure as the Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors.

No doubt, we will look back at the release of the Plecas Plan and note that is was pivotal in helping us to deal with the growing needs of our rapidly aging population.

I want to also thank Isobel Mackenzie, our Seniors Advocate, for the work and effort she has put in during her tenure over the last couple of years in helping to raise awareness regarding the important need to strengthen our home and community care delivery system.

Ladies and gentlemen, today is truly an amazing day.

The new investments the Minister announced, as I eluded to earlier, will have a profound impact on the lives of countless seniors in this province.

Back in January, after over a year of consultation and research, BCCPA released a paper with 30 key recommendations to strengthen seniors care.

Hon. Jane Philpott, Candace Chartier (OLTCA), Daniel Fontaine, meeting in Feb. 2017
Hon. Jane Philpott, Candace Chartier (OLTCA), Daniel Fontaine, meeting in Feb. 2017

I’m pleased to say that with the over half a billion in new funding – made available in part due to the national health accord recently signed with the Federal government – and a focus on quality, training and renewing our infrastructure – many of those recommendations can now be addressed in the coming years.

We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year at the BC Care Providers Association. Over the last four decades, we’ve been witness to significant changes that cover everything from how we deliver care, to the demographic makeup of who is receiving it.

It may not come as a surprise to many in this room who work in the sector, but the average age of seniors coming into our care homes is now around 88-years old.

Many of those seniors are able to stay at home longer before entering residential care, due to a concerted effort to ensure they have the necessary supports to stay in their single family home or apartment much longer than they could have before.

Today’s announcement goes a long way in helping to increase the number of clinical staff at the bedside.

It moves the needle when it comes to getting our workforce ready to take on a career in the growing and exciting field of seniors care.

Today’s new funding will have an impact on reducing worker injuries and making sure that new and existing care homes and home care providers are better able to manage the complex needs of our residents.

Lastly, the new funding will also address the needs of the ‘sandwich generation’ – people who are taking care of both their elderly parents and their kids.

Whether you live in Nelson, Kamloops, Prince Rupert or New Westminster – you want to know that the care will be there when you need it.

In fact… #CareCanBeThere was the theme of our recent public education campaign which triggered significant community response.

Minister, Dr. Plecas, on behalf of our members and the over 25,000 seniors they care for each day, I can now confidently say that the care will be there, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the your government to help make that happen.