Surrey: Seniors helped build the Canada we know and love today. But many face barriers that leave them feeling lonely, isolated and disconnected from their community. That has real costs: isolated seniors make more visits to emergency rooms, use more medication and enter residential care sooner. That is why the Government of Canada is supporting healthy aging and social engagement programs for seniors.

Today, the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors, announced over $9 million of investments in seniors in British Columbia through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP). The Minister announced that over the coming year close to 300 projects across the province will receive a total of more than $5.3 million from the NHSP’s community-based stream to help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. These projects will help ensure that seniors in British Columbia can benefit from, and contribute to, the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Minister Schulte made the announcement at the Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society. PICS will receive nearly $4 million in funding for a project to increase the social inclusion of multicultural seniors aged 55 and older in Surrey, British Columbia. The project is funded through the NHSP pan-Canadian stream.

In collaboration with key community organizations from the public and not-for-profit sectors, PICS will develop and implement a plan to improve access to communication, awareness, recreation, technology and transportation programs and services for multicultural seniors. In the context of this project, PICS will design project initiatives to better integrate these services for socially-isolated multicultural seniors in Surrey, so that they have more opportunities to be active and engaged in their community.

The NHSP is a federal grants and contributions program whose goal is to support projects that help improve the well-being and quality of life of seniors, and foster social inclusion and engagement of Canadian seniors in their communities. Budget 2019 invested an additional $100 million over five years in the NHSP.

“The social isolation of seniors has real costs on them and their communities. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to keeping seniors engaged and active. We’re proud to work with the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society in Surrey and other fantastic local partners around the province to provide programs and services for seniors that are designed to meet their needs. When seniors are respected, valued and included in our communities, their health and well-being is enhanced and our communities benefit “said, Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors.

“Seniors have so much to offer, and we must ensure our communities remain vibrant, inclusive places for them. I am proud of the Government of Canada’s investments with our partners, like the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society, to ensure our communities offer great activities and services to keep seniors active and engaged” said, Sukh Dhaliwal, Member of Parliament for Surrey—Newton.

“We are very excited to have received funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program to lead this Collective Impact initiative. Our aim, together with our partners and community members, is to break the systemic barriers to social inclusion and to make Surrey an interculturally inclusive and engaged community for its seniors. This is a great opportunity to address gaps and barriers around social isolation by leveraging the strengths of different organizations in Surrey and together, effecting collective change” said, Satbir Cheema, Chief Executive Officer, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society.