Age-Friendly Communities

Saanich Alert Bay

WHEREAS British Columbias population of seniors is growing rapidly, leaving many communities with challenges to address, such as physical and social barriers that affect the safety, independence and general ability of seniors to participate in society, and that negatively impact the overall health, quality of life and longevity of seniors; AND WHEREAS the World Health Organization, in partnership with the federal government, the province of British Columbia, and the Municipalities of Saanich, Alert Bay, and Lumby, are presently working together to develop tools that will guide local planners and policy makers in identifying and managing such physical and social barriers to seniors health and well-being: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of British Columbia Municipalities urge the provincial government to support, in a coordinated manner across the province, the implementation of age-friendly tools by local governments, which will help adapt the built, physical and social environments of their communities to support the needs of seniors.

Provincial Response

MINISTRY OF HEALTH The Province of British Columbia Province recognizes the need for local governments to be supported in a coordinated manner, to prepare for the impacts that a rapidly aging population will have on their communities in the future. The Ministry of Health Ministry has been leading on behalf of the Province, the development of Age-Friendly Community Guides. A World Health Organization Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide was launched on October 1, 2007, the International Day of Older Persons. A Canadian Age-Friendly Rural and Remote Communities Guide will be launched by early 2008. Both Age-Friendly Community Guides will provide a set of age-friendly checklists aimed at stimulating action within local governments to adapt their structures and services, to be accessible to, and inclusive of older persons with varying needs and capacities. The focus areas within the guides are: Outdoor spaces and buildings; Transportation; Housing; Respect and social inclusion; Social participation; Communications and information; Civic participation and employment; and Community support and health services. To support in a coordinated manner across the Province the implementation of the Age-Friendly Community Guides, a Memorandum of Understanding MOU for inter-agency coordination and collaboration is being established between the Union of BC Municipalities, the Ministry, 2010 Legacies Now and the BC Recreation and Parks Association. In addition, the Ministry has established an Age-Friendly Implementation Team with a mandate to directly support local governments to implement the Age-Friendly Community Guides.

Convention Decision