Seniors Symposium 2019 - National Association of Federal Retirees (FSNA) Hamilton Branch

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Seniors Symposium 2019

Branch Advocacy

Report on Minister Karina Gould’s Seniors Symposium – July 16, 2019
Burlington Central Library, Burlington, ON
NAFR Attendees: Ted Young, Mel Matthias, Gloria Reid, Carol Desoer

This was the third annual Seniors Symposium presented by Minister Gould in her Burlington riding. The format is to provide information to seniors through community based groups in attendance at info tables (e.g. Services Canada, the Burlington Public Library, Halton Police Services, CARP, Burlington Transit, Halton Emergency Services), a key-note speaker – in this case, Minister for Seniors, Filomena Tassi, and a Q&A period for both Ministers.

Minister Tassi provided a quite detailed slide presentation of the government’s work on the seniors file (Mel and I have requested a copy through Minister’s Gould’s office and will forward when received). The key messages were that her ministry’s goal was to develop and present a seniors strategy, start work on key initiatives, and concurrently solicit as much community/stakeholder input as possible on what is working, what isn’t and what more needs to be done.

Both Ministers spoke about the shared responsibilities at the federal and provincial levels for funding and delivery (feds predominantly funding and provinces predominantly delivering services) and the challenges that brings with many careful references to the current Ontario challenges.

There were about 15 questions from the floor for Minister Tassi and would have been more but she had another engagement. Ted Young introduced himself as a NAFR member, spoke to what NAFR’s views of the government and Minister’s Tassi’s work to date (mainly positive and well received) and asked an excellent question on the status of Bill 27. Unfortunately, Minister Tassi was rushing at this point and although both she and Minister Gould were adamant that it was "dead" now, with respect to the question of whether it would be raised again in the future, Minister Tassi added a comment about another initiative that would potentially "drive a stake" through defined benefit pension benefits that none of us caught and Minister Tassi then had to leave. I think it would be worth following up on our next meeting with Minister Tassi.

Minister Gould stayed on and took a further 10 or so questions and we were able to thank her for the morning and get a picture (see below). Carol Desoer unfortunately had to leave before the photo op.

The three of us then discussed some ideas that the Executive Committee might wish to consider in addition to working collaboratively with other groups on a Hamilton All Candidates debate:
Inviting Minister Tassi to be a short key note speaker at our September Members Luncheon. She will be in full campaigning mode by then and may welcome the opportunity.
Checking our membership numbers, and in ridings where numbers warrant, approaching candidates to see if they would like us to organize (they fund in terms of location and refreshments) coffee meet and greets now they campaign period is about to start.

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