Isobel Mackenzie is B.C.'s first seniors' advocate.

First B.C. seniors advocate named

Isobel Mackenzie takes new post that NDP fears is too weak

  • Mar. 20, 2014 2:00 p.m.



The provincial government has appointed Isobel Mackenzie as B.C.’s first seniors’ advocate.

Mackenzie has a broad mandate as the voice of seniors in B.C. to monitor and review system-wide issues affecting their well-being.

She can make recommendations to government and other service providers in areas ranging from health and personal care to housing, transportation and income support.

“I have seen first-hand the issues, the challenges and the choices facing our seniors, their families and their caregivers,” Mackenzie said Wednesday, calling her appointment an honour and a privilege.

“I have witnessed the profound desire of seniors to maintain their dignity and their independence.”

Mackenzie has 18 years of local, provincial and national experience working on behalf of seniors, much of it heading Beacon Community Services in Victoria.

She is to advise government and service providers in an independent manner, meet the minister at least yearly and make public her reports and recommendations.

Opposition New Democrats, who have called for a seniors advocate since 2007, said the government hasn’t given the new advocate enough power and independence to act as a strong champion.

The enabling legislation indicates problems specific to an individual senior, rather than broad system-wide issues, are likely to be referred elsewhere.

“This advocate is not empowered to look at individual issues facing seniors,” NDP seniors critic Katrine Conroy said. “These individual issues often signal systemic problems.”

The Office of the Seniors Advocate opens in Victoria March 31 with a $2-million budget and can be found online at www.gov.bc.ca/seniorsadvocate.

It’s the first position of its kind in Canada.

B.C. has 700,000 residents over age 65 and that number is projected to double over the next 20 years, by which time seniors will make up nearly a quarter of the population.

The appointment of the advocate by Health Minister Terry Lake meets a commitment in the province’s 2012 Seniors Action Plan.

That promise came after the B.C Ombudsperson issued a highly critical report in 2011 on problems in seniors’ care with 176 recommendations that critics say have largely been ignored.

– Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

Lightning sparks handful of fires in Cariboo region

So far none are larger than two hectares

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Editorial: Let the sunshine in

Hot weather and storms are a bad combination, but maybe we can stay optimistic this summer

Folk musician Chris Ronald is coming to Wells

It’ll be his second time playing at the Bear’s Paw Cafe on Saturday night

Sentencing delayed for local robbery suspect

Blackwater Road bust suspect is seeking new counsel for court date July 17

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank is the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C. that ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

B.C. ‘will be ready’ for marijuana legalization

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says some stores open by Oct. 17

Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

All 120 operations will need agreements by 2022, province says

Family of 4 from Oregon believed to be missing in northern B.C.

RCMP, Search and Rescue crews searching area where vehicle was abandoned

Most Read