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 11:00 a.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

Sister of cancer victim cycles across Canada to raise awareness

Her journey started on May 14 and will end in early August

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

Okanagan Regional Library hosts famous author

Author of The Woo Woo, Lindsay Wong will be in Kelowna Tuesday

VIDEO: It’s warming up across the Okanagan Valley

Grey skies are expected to fade and the sun looks like it’s here to stay

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

South Okanagan search and rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Firefighters respond to bus fire on Highway 1

Smoke in coach bus reported to have been caused by overheating, driver and passengers safe

North Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Caravan Farm Theatre holds outlaw themed fundraiser

Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its western outlaw themed fundraiser, Hands Up! June 1

Most Read