Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

November 19, 2013 10:00 ET

Federal Institutions Must Properly Support Quebec's English-Speaking Seniors, Says Graham Fraser

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 19, 2013) - Quebec's English-speaking population has a faster rate of aging than its French-speaking population and, despite higher education levels among English-speaking seniors, nearly as many of them are living below the low-income cut-off as French-speaking seniors. These are the main findings of the study released today by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, entitled Enjoying Your Senior Years in Your Own Language, Culture and Community: Federal support from key institutions and a portrait of English-speaking seniors in Quebec

"I decided that a portrait of English-speaking seniors was needed, because there has been, until now, little data on their reality. For example, over half of English-speaking seniors are unilingual, and they face the challenge of finding professionals in their region who not only are able to serve them, but who also speak their language. These seniors find themselves in a vulnerable position, or depend on a family member when they need to get information or public health services, for example," said Graham Fraser.

"Furthermore, nearly 50% of English-speaking seniors are immigrants, compared to less than 10% among French-speaking seniors. English-speaking community organizations that serve these groups must step up their efforts and mobilize their resources to provide services that adequately meet these groups' different needs."

The release of the study coincides with the launch of the Seniors Action Quebec network, a new organization dedicated to promoting the vitality of Quebec's English-speaking seniors. "The creation of Seniors Action Quebec is excellent news not only for the English-speaking community, but also for federal institutions that, through this network, will be able to more easily target this group and provide services that are tailored to their needs," the Commissioner added.

In this study, the Commissioner recommends that federal institutions whose activities affect seniors in official language minority communities, especially Canadian Heritage and Employment and Social Development Canada, take measures to ensure that representatives of official language minority community groups are systematically consulted in the development and implementation of policies and programs that affect seniors. He also stressed that it is important for federal institutions to coordinate their efforts to fill gaps in research on the aging population in minority communities.

Multimedia resources

Infographic on English-speaking seniors in Quebec: http://ow.ly/qWfVa

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Contact Information

  • To schedule an interview with the Commissioner:
    Nelson Kalil
    Manager, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
    Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
    613-995-0374 / Cellular: 613-324-0999
    nelson.kalil@ocol-clo.gc.ca