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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Business Excellence Awards return in 2021 with six new categories

Using a virtual format, the awards will celebrate innovation and inspiration in a pandemic

Chilliwack BC Liberal candidate hopeful jumps to the BC Conservatives

Days after Janzen said she had ‘rug yanked’ from under her by BC Liberals she finds a new home

Chilliwack RCMP still seeking second suspect in Charles Avenue truck fire

Jordan Cole Burt was taken into RCMP custody while wanted on an outstanding warrant

Chilliwack’s Gary Robbins maps out epic trail across eight mountains

Robbins spent nearly 40 hours covering 110 miles and over 10,000 metres of elevation gain

Driver in fatal crash near Hope pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for death following crime spree in 2017

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read