Keeping seniors active, informed, engaged

No matter your age staying informed, being engaged and keeping active in your community is vital for one’s general well being. It also makes the community itself a healthy and vibrant one, such as we are blessed with here in the Okanagan.

Earlier this month I had the honour of hosting my colleague, the Honourable Alice Wong Minister of State for Seniors, in the riding. We toured some local senior centres and met with folks of all ages, who are dedicated to working daily with our seniors, many on a volunteer basis.  We were not only impressed with the quality of volunteers but also the excellent leadership within the organizations.  It reinforced why the Okanagan is such a wonderful place for seniors to live. 

Thanks to the hospitality and great work of the Kelowna Community Resources (KCR), Minister Wong and I had a chance to sit down and chat with representatives of various organizations who work hard every day to make our community safe, fun and liveable for people of all ages.  

The topics of discussion focused on seniors in isolation, helping groups work with local and provincial governments to provide better transportation systems and the challenges/best practices for keeping seniors, active, engaged, and informed.

Minister Wong and I drew attention to the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) and that it has a stream that is focused on preventing the isolation of seniors. All communities are different and have different needs. That is why the NHSP program is so well received, it lets communities design programs and projects that are tailor made to fit their unique needs.

We also mentioned the National Seniors Council’s ongoing study of seniors in isolation through roundtables and research, as well as the need for local city council to be involved with community programs.

The benefit of roundtables like this one should not be underestimated as it provides for the opportunity to network and leverage partnerships to establish best practices and create working relationships between organizations.  

Minister Wong told the group how she has been to over 150 ridings and has been listening to folks from all over the country and one common issue is that there is a strong correlation between health and getting out into your community and keeping active.

Minister Wong and I encouraged those present to use the information that has been aggregated on www.seniors.gc.ca to find resources from all levels of government. Knowing what benefits you are entitled to as well as being aware of elder and financial abuse is important to the well being of seniors.

For those who do not have an internet connection available to them, there is still hard copy material available for free from Service Canada which can be reached at 1-800-O-CANADA.

Or you can always contact my Capri Mall Constituency office at 250-470-5075 and we will do our best to help you find what you need. 

As Ernest Myers the poet and author stated, “Don't just count your years, make your years count.” I think that is sage advice to everyone, no matter your age.


The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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