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Ageing At Home: Is It An Affordable Option?

Monday, October 18, 2021

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The Empire Club of Canada Presents:
Ageing At Home: Is It An Affordable Option?

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many Canadians to re-think where they want to age, with 91% now reporting they plan to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Despite this overwhelming preference to age in place, many older adults are financially unprepared for a safe and comfortable retirement at home. A number of factors contribute to this landscape of financial vulnerability, including low levels of personal savings, higher levels of debt, a scarcity of workplace pension programs, inadequate government-run retirement programs, and a care system that provides greater financial coverage for institutional care over homecare. There are a number of strategies and programs that Canadians can use today to better secure their retirement, such as delaying the acceptance of CPP/QPP benefits, leveraging home equity assets, and purchasing private long-term care (LTC) insurance. Lasting solutions, however, must include public policy reform in areas like the creation of a national public LTC insurance program, promoting financial literacy and retirement planning, and encouraging employers to offer pensions.

Peter Mansbridge, Canadian Journalist and Author

Dr. Samir K. Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network

Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, Director of Financial Security Research, National Institute on Ageing

Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO, CanAge: Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization

*The content presented is free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.*

*Views and Opinions Expressed Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the speakers or panelists are those of the speakers or panelists and do not necessarily reflect or represent the official views and opinions, policy or position held by The Empire Club of Canada.*

headshot of Dr. Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, PhD FCIA FSA

Dr. Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, PhD FCIA FSA

Director of Financial Security Research, National Institute on Ageing

Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, PhD FCIA FSA, is the Director of Financial Security Research at the National Institute on Ageing, Ryerson University (Toronto). She is also a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, and the resident scholar at Eckler Ltd. Her research focuses on the financial and health aspects of Canada’s ageing population. Bringing together leading industry experts and building on academic best practices coupled with innovative ideas, her work aims to improve retirement financial security for Canadians through practical insights, industry innovations and government solutions.

She has published numerous academic papers on a wide variety of topics relating to retirement financial security for Canadians. Her research contributions have received numerous awards and have been adopted by industry and government, in Canada and around the world. She is a prolific keynote speaker at industry and public policy engagements and a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail. A recipient of the 2001 Gold Medal in Actuarial Science at the University of Western Ontario, Bonnie-Jeanne received her FSA in 2004 and FCIA in 2019, and also holds a PhD in Actuarial Mathematics from Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University. In 2011, she was chosen one of Canada’s top young economists and attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany.

headshot of Peter Mansbridge

Peter Mansbridge

Canadian Journalist and Author

Peter Mansbridge is an award-winning journalist, a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a member of numerous boards and committees.

He is best known for his five decades of work at the CBC where he was Chief Correspondent of CBC News and anchor of The National for thirty years. He has won dozens of awards for outstanding journalism, has thirteen honorary doctorates from universities in Canada and the United States, and received Canada’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada, in 2008. He is the former two-term Chancellor of Mount Allison University, now its Chancellor Emeritus, and is the President of Manscorp Media Services where his work includes documentary film production.

headshot of Dr. Samir Sinha

Dr. Samir Sinha

Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health and the University Health Network

Dr. Samir Sinha is the Director of Health Policy Research, National Institute on Ageing (NIA), Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Sinha is a highly regarded clinician and international expert in the care of older adults. He is the Architect of the Government of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy and in 2014, Maclean’s proclaimed him to be one of Canada’s 50 most influential people and its most compelling voice for the elderly. Dr. Sinha was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Government of Canada’s National Seniors Council, and is also leading the development of new National Long-Term Care Standards for Canada.

Beyond Canada, Dr. Sinha is a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society and a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Sinha has further consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Britain, China, Iceland, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan and the United States on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.

headshot of Laura Tamblyn Watts

Laura Tamblyn Watts

CEO, CanAge: Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization

Laura Tamblyn Watts is the CEO of CanAge, Canada’s national seniors’ advocacy organization and a frequently sought-after speaker. Her work focuses on aging, inclusion, and justice. She has previously served as Chief Public Policy Officer at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (2018- 2019) and in a number of positions at the Canadian Centre for Elder Law including as their long-time National Director (2004-2018). She is faculty at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work where she teaches a course in Law and Aging at the University of Toronto (2012-current). She was called to the Bar in 1999.

Laura is a Board Member of IIROC, Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario and PACE independent living. She just completed her term on the Board of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). Prior to joining OBSI’s Board, she Chaired OBSI’s Consumer and Investor Advisory Committee.

She is a past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Elder Law section, where she sits as a current Executive member. She is a member of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada’s (IFIC) committee on Seniors and Vulnerable Investors (IFIC) and serves as a Canadian representative on the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASSA) committee on Vulnerable Investors. Laura is a continuing member of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Taskforce on Seniors. She helped to co-found Canada’s second low income seniors’ legal services centre, SeniorsFirst BC, located in Vancouver, and served as its first Legal Director. She received her undergraduate honours degree in Political Science from Queen’s University and her law degree with honours from the University of Victoria. She was called to the Bar in 1999. She received her certificate in bilingualism in 1991. She was awarded the Distinguished International Fellow Award from Stetson University Centre for Excellence in Elder Law and is a Canadian representative to the International Guardianship Network, and Fellow of the World Congress on Adult Guardianship.

Laura is the author of numerous papers on aging issues, and is a frequent media commentator.