Canada announced Thursday that more than $60-million dollars will be invested into over 3,000 community-based projects to support seniors across the country.
The federal government said the pandemic has increased social isolation among many older Canadians, and programs serving them are now more important than ever. The $60.8-million in funding was awarded through the New Horizons for Seniors Program’s (NHSP) most recent call for proposals for community-based projects.
Deb Schulte, Canada’s Minister of Seniors, announced the investment Wednesday during a virtual event at the Vaughan Community Health Centre, which received funding for one of their own projects.
“I am proud of the thousands of projects funded through the NHSP, including more projects in rural and remote communities than ever before,” said Schulte. “These projects help Canadian seniors stay active and socially connected during this unprecedented time. Seniors have given and continue to give so much to our country; it is important that we provide them with the programs and support they deserve.”
This year, increased funding and improvements to the program resulted in the highest number of applications ever, almost double the number of projects serving rural seniors, and a greater share of funded projects serving vulnerable seniors. The funded projects vary from exercise programs to mediation, fighting abuse and even food deliveries.
“As we know, the pandemic has been especially hard on seniors. Facing isolation at home, staying safe, not being able to see their families and grand-kids and all of those important connections they have in the community. Last year, we had 2,000 projects across the country supporting seniors. A lot of them connecting seniors to the internet and giving them the support they need to be comfortable with that technology”
Community-based projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 in grant funding. Additional grants of up to $5,000 were made available for organizations that have not received funding from the program in the past five years.
MORE: New Horizons for Seniors Programs (NHSP)
Minister Schulte also touched on another aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations.
“It’s really an important element in us getting out of this pandemic; to make sure we can vaccinate Canadians. It’s been a very big focus for our government. We’ve delivered almost 5-million doses to the provinces and territories so far. For the [Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] alone, we’re now receiving over one million doses a week until the end of May. We’re now getting a good supply of vaccines and the provinces and territories are ramping up to get them in the arms of Canadians.”
Minister Schulte said she wants to assure Canadians, including our seniors, that the vaccines are safe.
“We have stringent regulations and reviews that are done by Health Canada. All vaccines, including AstraZeneca, are 100% effective against serious outcomes, including death. Everyone should be comfortable and feel safe to take the vaccine, whatever vaccine is offered, as soon as possible.”