The National Association of Federal Retirees and the Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ER), together representing 150,000 voters, partnered to present Vibrant Voices, a community-based advocacy campaign to influence political action for Ontario’s seniors during Ontario’s election.
Yesterday, Ontario’s election ended following a long, turbulent and surprising campaign that has Doug Ford forming the province’s new majority government with 76 seats, with the NDP in opposition at 40 seats under Andrea Horwath’s leadership. The Liberals lost party status, dropping from 55 to 7 seats, and while Kathleen Wynne won her riding, she stepped down as party leader late in the evening. The Greens gained one seat in Guelph with Mike Schreiner.
The Vibrant Voices collaboration helped candidates understand seniors priorities and expectations of Ontario’s next government – the need to ensure our communities are age-friendly and promote access, engagement and better quality of life for older persons; that our health and social care professionals have geriatric training and expertise, essential to caring for an aging population; and that elder abuse is identified and ended.
“Our work is just getting started and this is just the beginning of the conversations we need to have with Ontario’s seniors, on the issues that matter most,” notes Federal Retirees president Jean-Guy Soulière. “Our members are looking forward to picking up the conversations we’ve had with candidates over the past months – now our MPPs – and moving this new government to action.”
In early April, RTO/ERO and Federal Retirees members and communities came together at a town hall in downtown Toronto with viewing parties throughout the province. Vibrant Voices have kept members informed and engaged throughout the campaign, sending hundreds of emails with pointed questions pushing parties to share their platforms for seniors. Liberal and NDP positions were published and shared with more than 150,000 throughout the province, but the Progressive Conservative responses were continually delayed. The party’s five-point platform has a commitment to add new long-term beds and supports for mental health and housing.