Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 03, 2007 12:30 ET

Canada's New Government Announces Appointments to National Seniors Council

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 3, 2007) - Today the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors) and the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, announced the appointment of eight members to the National Seniors Council.

The National Seniors Council will advise the Government on seniors' issues of national importance. In doing so, it will help ensure that government policies, programs and services meet the evolving needs of seniors, including the challenges arising from a rapidly growing and aging population.

"Seniors asked us for a National Council to study and deliver on the issues that matter to them," said Secretary of State LeBreton. "We've listened to seniors and seniors' groups and this is the result. I am very excited about working with the Council to deliver on the priorities of Canada's growing seniors' population."

On March 5, the Ministers welcomed Jean-Guy Souliere as the first Chair of the National Seniors Council. The latest members of the Council, selected through a public recruitment process held in March, include:

- Sandra Hirst, Calgary, Alberta
- Marilyn Loveless, Victoria, British Columbia
- Daphne Nahmiash, Montreal, Quebec
- Cecile Plourde, Montreal, Quebec
- Remi Plourde, Chicoutimi, Quebec
- The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea, Toronto, Ontario
- Joan Tufts, Saulnierville, Nova Scotia
- Beverly Ola Weeks, Harvey, New Brunswick

The members appointed to the Council represent the voices of seniors, representatives of organizations that serve the needs or interests of seniors, and experts from fields of study related to seniors and aging.

"I am very proud that we have been able to deliver on this important commitment for older Canadians," said Minister Solberg. "I look forward to receiving the advice of the National Seniors Council because we want to continue to listen as we put in place the many initiatives our government has brought forward for seniors."

"Canada's seniors deserve the best from their federal government and our government is working hard to deliver," added Minister Clement. "The establishment of the National Seniors Council will certainly help to promote the health and well being of seniors across the country."

The National Seniors Council may at any time comprise a maximum of 12 members, including the Chair. Members may serve a term of up to three years. The National Seniors Council's inaugural meeting will take place later this month.

For more information on the National Seniors Council, visit


What Canada's New Government has done for seniors

In addition to creating the National Seniors Council, over the last year Canada's New Government has made a positive difference in the lives of seniors by:

- providing tax relief by announcing pension income splitting for pensioners, increasing the age credit by $1,000 (from $4,066 to $5,066), and increasing the maximum amount of eligible pension income that can be claimed under the pension income credit from $1,000 to $2,000;

- increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement maximum benefit and introducing legislation to make it easier for seniors to apply for and receive the Supplement;

- increasing the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement tax credit by more than 30 per cent to $1,000;

- expanding the Compassionate Care Benefit under the Employment Insurance program, making more Canadians eligible;

- introducing a Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and launching the Expert Panel to Study Labour Market Conditions that Affect Older Workers; and

- announcing plans in Budget 2007 for an expansion of the New Horizons for Seniors Program by $10 million per year.


Members of the National Seniors Council

The National Seniors Council was established to advise Canada's New Government on all matters related to the health, well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a an aging population.

The National Seniors Council may at any time comprise a maximum of 12 members, including the Chair. The Council is composed of seniors, representatives of organizations that serve the needs or interests of older Canadians, and experts from fields of study related to seniors and aging.

All members are part-time Governor-in-Council positions. Members are expected to serve a term of up to three years and may meet several times annually as deemed necessary by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, the Minister of Health, and the Secretary of State (Seniors).

The Chair of the Council is Mr. Jean-Guy Souliere. He is currently Executive Director of the Federal Superannuates National Association as well as Chair of the Congress of National Seniors' Organizations.

The other eight members are:

Three-year appointments:

Sandra Hirst

Sandra Hirst, PhD, of Calgary, Alberta, is the President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology. A gerontological nurse by training, she is also an associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Dr. Hirst has published numerous articles on a variety of topics related to seniors. She has served and currently sits on many boards and advisory councils, including the Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta, the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association and the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly Project. Dr. Hirst is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mary Morrison Davis Award (Alberta Association on Gerontology, 2006) and an Honourary Life Membership (2001) with the Alberta Gerontological Nurses Association.

Beverley Ola Weeks

Beverley Ola Weeks of Harvey, New Brunswick, is the founder of Harvey Outreach for Seniors, an organization developed to meet the needs of seniors. She is also a founding and lifetime member of the New Brunswick Home Support Association. Ms. Weeks has served on many committees and has conducted research projects in the field of seniors' issues. She is the New Brunswick representative on the Board of the Canadian Association for Community Care. Some of her awards include the Marion Stevenson Award for outstanding contribution to Community Care and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for her work on seniors' issues.

Two-year appointments:

Daphne Nahmiash

Daphne Nahmiash, PhD, of Montreal, Quebec, is the Chair of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging Education Committee. She has recently retired from her position as Director of Professional Services and Complaints and Quality of Services Commissioner at the Centre de sante et de services sociaux Cavendish in Montreal. Dr. Nahmiash has been working in the field of seniors' health and social services for the past 45 years. She has been part of many committees, including at the Quebec Health and Social Services Ministry where she produced government reports on senior abuse and neglect. Some of her awards include Women of the Year 2005-2006, awarded by the Montreal Council of Women for initiatives to improve the quality of life of seniors.

Cecile Plourde

Cecile Plourde of Montreal, Quebec, has been the president of the Federation de l'age d'or du Quebec (FADOQ) - Mouvement des aines du Quebec for the Montreal region since 2000. The FADOQ is the largest seniors' group in Quebec and is made up of 280,000 members. Ms. Plourde, a graduate of Universite Laval, worked in the health profession for 40 years as a registered nurse. Ms. Plourde has been active in her community for many years and has served on many committees, including the Table de concertation des aines de l'Ile de Montreal and the regional selection committees for the Engages dans l'action pour les aines du Quebec and New Horizons grant programs. Ms. Plourde has also been a member of the family committee at the Conference regionale des elus de Montreal since 2005.

The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea

The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea of Toronto, Ontario, is the Rector of St. Hilda's Towers, the largest single residential care facility in Ontario. He is also the Dean of Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology. He was the Priest-in-Charge for twenty-eight years at the St. Clement (Riverdale) Parish. He established a number of local initiatives geared towards youth and low-income seniors. Reverend Shea was appointed Canon for the Diocese of Toronto by the Anglican Church in 2002. He is a former Toronto City and Metro Councillor, as well as a former Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament. He has served on numerous boards, chairs, and commissions, including the Children's Aid Society and the Mayor's Committee on Race Relations. He was awarded the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal for Community Service as a result of his work and advocacy.

Joan Tufts

Joan Tufts of Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, is a retired nurse who is currently an Addiction Services Counsellor with a special emphasis on nicotine addiction. Ms. Tufts has served in a variety of roles involving seniors and home care. She is currently a voluntary Director on the Mental Health Foundation Board of Nova Scotia and sits on that board and the Clare Community Health Board. Ms. Tufts won the 2005 Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation Board of Nova Scotia.

One-year appointments:

Marilyn Loveless

Marilyn Loveless of Victoria, British Columbia, has recently retired as Director of the Shoal Seniors Centre, a centre that addresses the needs of more than 700 seniors in the community. Her work experience in the past two decades has been dedicated to enhancing and promoting the overall well-being of seniors. Ms. Loveless has experience as a teacher, a school trustee and a municipal councillor. She is a long-time volunteer and has served on many boards and committees.

Remi Plourde

Remi Plourde of Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a senior as well as a retired educational administrator. He is currently serving on the Conseil d'administration pour la fusion des ecoles privees Seminaire de Chicoutimi et Lycee du Saguenay. He is also part of a school expansion sub-committee. Mr. Plourde worked as an administrator at the Lac Saint-Jean music camp for 12 years. He also served on the board of directors as the director of student services and then served simultaneously as the chairman, and the director of students and human, financial and material resources. Mr. Plourde is familiar with the issues faced by seniors.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request. A photo will be available on CP picture wire via CCNMatthews' website

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    Office of the Secretary of State (Seniors)
    James Maunder