Senior’s Profile: VP of Advocacy with CARP talks about the organization’s priorities for change in 2018

As a strong advocate for assisted dying, Wanda Morris has now joined CARP to advocate for the needs of older Canadians.

Recently, SeniorsZen was able to talk to her about what the organization does and what they hope to accomplish in 2018.

 

SZ) What does CARP do?

We are a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization. Our constituency is Canadians that are aging.  Our over-arching mandate is to support health care, financial security, and freedom from ageism.

We have 300,000 members across the country in every province and territory, of all political stripes. Many of them are actively involved in our chapters. We have a network of 26 chapters from coast to coast where folks take on local advocacy issues as well as supporting our national campaigns.

We are also an organization that provides benefits to our members. When you have that number of individuals, companies often want to reach them and our rationale is we allow folks to advertise to our members providing they give them discounts and deals on goods and services.

I like to say that people join CARP to do good and do well.

 

SZ) What are some of the benefits?

We have health insurance, dental insurance, home and automotive insurance. We have discounts, for example for $150 off a pair of eyeglasses, $1,000 off an hearing aid at Hearing Life. We have things like stair lifts and a lot of goods that help people age. We also have dining and travel discounts as well.

 

SZ) What are some of the top issues facing those who are aging today?

There is a mountain of issues. There is not a day or week that doesn’t come by that I get an email, a letter or a phone call saying, “CARP really has to fight this or that injustice.” The reality is that most of them are things that we should be tackling and that we simply don’t have the resources to do it. So, we focus.

Our board has just agreed on our advocacy priorities for 2018. That is kind of sweet spot we think between needs and where there is potential for legislative change.

Number one is pension protection.  Think about Sears and individuals losing their pensions when the company is defunded and they have no priority in bankruptcy.

Number two is RIS (Retirement Income Security) reform where individuals are now more than likely to outlive their RISs because investment returns are down and longevity is certainly up.

Number three is long-term care. There are issues with resident on resident aggression with the lull of care that is provided across this country.

Number four is affordable housing.  It is often seen as a millennial issue, but when you think about the greater Vancouver area, Victoria or Toronto we have seen significant increases in housing prices. If you are a senior who doesn’t own, living on a fixed income, it is a real threat to financial security.

 

SZ) How did you join CARP?

I was with a group called Dying with Dignity where I was the CEO. We had a mandate to make assisted dying legal across the country. I met Moses Znaimer, who heads-up CARP when he became one of our founding patrons. He did so much to bring that issue across and get mainstream support for that issue.  

He and I met during the course of that and then when he and his former vice president of advocacy parted ways he asked me to join CARP.

 

SZ) Anything to add?

We now have about 1,000 Canadians turning 65 every day. In a recent CARP poll, 98 per cent of members said they voted in the last federal election so, we are a group to be reckoned with, so it is important that government at all levels pay attention to the needs of seniors.

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