Community organizing and public consultation, in addition to the recommendations from the B.C. Ombudsperson's investigations and reports result in creation of Seniors' Advocate.
Vancouver (27 Feb. 2013) - The B.C. government tabled legislation on February 20 for the province's first Seniors' Advocate.
The position, however, will not be established as an independent office of the Legislature. Instead, the advocate will be appointed by government, much like the Ministry of Social Development's Advocate for Service Quality. Other independent watchdogs, including the Auditor General and the Representative for Children and Youth, report directly to the B.C. Legislative Assembly.
Although the Seniors' Advocate does not have the authority to hold government accountable on issues impacting B.C. seniors', the position highlights the need for oversight and advocacy around seniors' services across the province.
The announcement, while welcome, is also long overdue, arising out of recommendations from the B.C. Ombudsperson's comprehensive investigations and reports issued in December 2009 and February 2012. It is also the result of the effforts of immense community organization through the public consultation process, involving many organization and labour unions, including the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
At this stage, there is no timeline for filling the position, and no one has been named to fill the position.
"The union looks forward to working with the Seniors' Advocate to improve caring conditions for seniors, as well as around issues identified by our members working in various areas of seniors' care and support," says BCGEU President Darryl Walker. "Frontline workers know well the challenges that seniors have in receiving quality care, and their views need to be considered by the Advocate in their capaicity to improve services to seniors."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE