Government Providing Additional Support For Seniors With New Seniors Community Grant ProgramPublished on June 29, 2020
Provincewide Grant Program Will Promote Safety, Community Engagement and Financial Security
The government is providing up to $4 million for the Seniors Community Grant Program, a significant increase over last year. This funding will help non-profit organizations, local services boards, or Indigenous groups develop programs for seniors that focus on combatting social isolation, promoting seniors' safety and well-being, improving financial security and making communities age-friendly.
The announcement was made recently by both the Premier of Ontario and the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
"It's incredibly important to ensure our seniors have the supports they need to live full, rich and socially active lives, especially during this pandemic," the Premier said during the announcement of the program. "Many have been staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As the province gradually reopens, this funding will go towards establishing virtual seniors' tours, offering programs to combat elder abuse and developing age-friendly communities through initiatives like making outdoor spaces more accessible for seniors."
This year's grants will range from $1,000 to $100,000 and will fund projects that will:
1. Help older individuals and couples receive the support they need in their community;
2. Ensure seniors are less at risk for neglect, abuse and fraud, and that their rights and dignity are protected;
3. Ensure more older adults are connected and engaged, reducing social isolation; and,
4. Provide more opportunities for older adults in employment and volunteering, achieving greater financial security and engagement within the community.
"The past several months have been difficult for seniors, as many have stayed home in self isolation to help prevent the virus from spreading," the Minister of Health attested."Through the Seniors Community Grant Program, our older adults will be getting out more to take part in various activities. When going out, seniors must continue to follow public health advice and practise physical distancing, wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently, and stay home when ill. This is the best way to keep everyone safe."
In the past, the Seniors Community Grant Program has supported community-based activities like seniors' fitness classes, lawn bowling, brain fitness activities, multicultural dance, along with a public education and awareness campaign that challenges the myths and stereotypes that portray older adults as frail, out-of-touch, technologically illiterate, and no longer employable.
"Although many seniors have been socially isolated to stay safe from COVID-19, our government is committed to ensure they stay connected and physically active, especially now when the province is gradually starting to reopen," the Minister for Seniors and Acessibility said (immediately following the announcement). "We want to help them maintain their autonomy and independence, while supporting their physical, mental and social well-being."
The application period for the Seniors Community Grant Program is now open and will close on August 7, 2020. Unincorporated and incorporated not-for-profit organizations, local services boards, or Indigenous groups must submit applications to Transfer Payment Ontario (formerly Grants Ontario) online at Ontario.ca/GetFunding.
"Each year, the Seniors Community Grant program makes a difference in the lives of many older Ontarians by creating meaningful opportunities for them to connect with their communities," said Sue Hesjedahl, Executive Director of the Older Adult Centres' Association of Ontario. "This year, supporting that connection is even more important and the SCG program will ensure seniors across the province can still engage with what matters most to them while staying safe and healthy."
Since the Seniors Community Grant Program was established in 2014, nearly 1,900 grants have been provided, which have positively impacted the lives of more than half a million seniors.
By 2023, there will be three million Ontarians over the age of 65. Older adults are the province’s fastest growing demographic.
Questions about the program can be answered by contacting the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility: email: [email protected]; toll free: 1-833-SCG-INFO (1-833-724-4636); TTY (for the hearing impaired): 1-800-387-5559; fax: 416-326-7078.