First Age-Friendly Community Recognition Awards Announced
40 Communities Honoured for Being Inclusive and Accessible for Seniors
Ontario has announced the recipients of the first Age-Friendly Community Recognition Awards, recognizing communities for being leaders in creating inclusive and accessible environments for seniors.
Dipika Damerla, Minister of Seniors Affairs, announced the 40 recipients that are being recognized for helping seniors lead independent, healthy, active, safe and socially connected lives, including:
- Brantford: for a plan that focusses on improving housing and transportation infrastructure, social and recreational opportunities, and primary health care services. The City continues to work on supporting a more inclusive and accessible community for local seniors.
- Peterborough: for working with the County and the Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations over three years to establish ways for the city to support healthy and active aging.
- Thunder Bay: for launching a plan in 2015 to improve programs and services for older adults. After launching initiatives such as adult outdoor exercise spaces, information sharing opportunities, and more resources to support the community's ethnic diversity, health and housing needs, the City launched a new Age-Friendly Community Wide Action Plan in 2017.
Minister Damerla also reaffirmed the expansion of the Age-Friendly Community Planning grant program to help make communities even more accessible and inclusive for seniors of all ages and abilities.
Ontario's 2018 Budget is supporting seniors and their families by:
- Making prescriptions free for people 65 and over through an expansion of OHIP+. Starting August 1, 2019, seniors in Ontario will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment for prescription medications.
- Creating a new Seniors' Healthy Home Program, starting in 2019, that will provide up to $750 per year for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them offset the costs of living independently.
- Creating a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person or $600 per couple, of seniors' eligible dental expenses each year for those without workplace health benefits.
The government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors highlights a $7 million three year investment for age-friendly implementation initiatives. It builds on the Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant that invested $1.5 million in 56 communities towards local initiatives that make communities more inclusive for seniors of all ages and abilities.
- Ontario is also investing over $580,000 over five years in the Age-Friendly Communities Outreach Initiative, which is providing assistance to communities interested in adopting age-friendly planning principles.
- The province promotes the development and growth of age-friendly communities through a number of programs and initiatives, such as the AFC Planning Guide, a planning tool and resource for municipalities interested in local age-friendly plans.
“I am pleased to recognize these Ontario communities that are leading the way in making our cities and towns friendly for all ages. I congratulate them on their leadership.”