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 7:00 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

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles dominate round robin playoff games on home ice

“The guys knew this was a big game and we came ready to compete”

Ninth annual Victor’s Secret Fashion Show raises $11,690 for North Island cancer patients

“I am overwhelmed, that in tough times, you still pull through to help this event”

LETTER: Loaves and Fishes competing with Harvest Food Bank?

“Is this a political move by Food Banks BC to increase its profile”

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for playoffs

The bantams will be playing their first two playoff games in Port McNeill this weekend.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The top of Mt. Wolfenden

“A few shots at different focal lengths and then I was back inside editing with a coffee in hand”

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

Most Read