Since 2017, Kerry Anderson has been the Manager of the Aging and Seniors Unit, in the Division of Aging, Seniors and Dementia at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is the co-chair of the Pan-Canadian Age-Friendly Communities Reference Group. Prior to her work at PHAC, she worked for 20 years in the field of disability at Employment and Social Development Canada. She has a Master’s in Social Work from Carleton University.
The value of collaboration in advancing the age-friendly communities model in Canada
Judy Brownoff has been an elected Municipal Councillor since 1993 for the District of Saanich. She has witnessed how older adults are experiencing aging through her work as previous Chair of the District’s Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee and recent work with the BC Healthy Communities Society where she has been President and Chair since 2012. When British Columbia selected Saanich to represent BC in the WHO Age-Friendly Cities initiative, Judy was the Community Leader. It was obvious to Judy that the Eight Domains were all domains local governments have direct influence on. Local governments are building communities every day and this leads to opportunities in everything from transportation to social connections, Fire on “getting out alive” program but also looking at falls in homes to Police on elder abuse, senior safety and many other opportunities that can help to create the community residents want. Judy has believed that communities need to be healthy, sustainable, liveability and inclusive for all ages and abilities.
Born and raised in Southern Alberta, Rob Miyashiro has been Executive Director of Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization for over 13 years. He is also Chair of Age Friendly Lethbridge, participates on the Alberta Age Friendly Communities of Practice and is a member of the Pan-Canadian Age Friendly Communities Reference Group. Rob serves on the Provincial Advisory Committee for the Minister of Seniors and Housing, is Vice-President (and a founding Board Member) of the Alberta Association of Seniors Centres, and is a Member of the interim Community Leaders Council for the development of a Community-Based Senior Services (CBSS) sector in Alberta. He is part of the leadership group of the Lethbridge Social Helping Organizations Coalition and is completing his second term serving on Lethbridge City Council.
Lisa Brancaccio is the Knowledge Broker for the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health at Providence Care (CSAH) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. CSAH collaborates with a range of stakeholders to promote healthy aging through knowledge translation and exchange, education, capacity building and research. In her role, Lisa facilitates the uptake of quality research through local capacity building and tailored knowledge translation strategies that foster empowerment, inclusion and innovation. Lisa’s main portfolio is the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Outreach Program; applying a determinants of health perspective, Lisa and the Outreach Program Team examine the environmental conditions, policy contexts and underlying socioeconomic characteristics that promote or impede healthy aging at local and provincial levels. Lisa is passionate about supporting vulnerable and marginalized populations, and promoting community action for health equity and healthy public policy. Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Queen’s University.
Kerry Anderson, Public Health Agency of Canada
Judy Brownoff, District of Saanich, Canada
Rob Miyashiro, Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization, Canada
Lisa Brancaccio, Centre for Studies in Aging and Health, Canada
In an age-friendly community (AFC), the policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to help seniors to live safely, enjoy good health, and stay involved in their community. For a community to become age-friendly, work is encouraged to adapt or improve the following eight domains of community life: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.
These domains are interrelated and span multiple sectors; therefore, actors in this field must collaborate with a diverse range of stakeholders to implement age-friendly initiatives. Local, regional, provincial/territorial and federal collaborations are necessary to ensure AFC are well supported and can be sustained. The purpose of this symposium is to describe the value and importance of using a collaborative approach, at multiple levels, to planning, implementing and sustaining AFC in Canada.
This symposium will feature speakers from British Columbia’s District of Saanich, Alberta’s City of Lethbridge, Ontario’s AFC Outreach Program, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Each speaker will describe why collaborations are effective in advancing AFC, how to establish AFC collaborations, and different types and ways of collaborating across governments and among community members/groups.
Symposium presenters will also share examples of collaborations that enabled the sharing of best practices and mobilized local action without ‘reinventing the wheel’.
Together, the four presentations will provide examples of AFC collaborations, within a Canadian context, that have proven effective. Recommendations will be made for practitioners, researchers, and decision makers at different levels of government, among others, to support their age-friendly efforts.
Presenter #1, Judy Brownoff
By Incorporating Age-Friendly Elements we create Healthy Communities for All
Local governments can incorporate, in all their works, designs and programs consideration of the needs of an aging population. These age-friendly elements create a welcoming community with improved health and well-being outcomes, together with more opportunities for social connections, for all ages and abilities.
Local governments have adequate powers to address existing and future community needs, including the needs of its older residents. Under legislation, it has the authority to determine the public interests.
Since 2006, the City of Saanich has worked across sectors and disciplines to adjust its standards and programs and integrate the age-friendly movement into its foundation. Collaborations at the local level have made the following examples possible: adaptable housing, sidewalks, crosswalks with longer count down timing, outdoor accessibility to our trails and parks, recreation facilities and programs, plus programs with our Fire and Police and more. Simple changes can make a community more inclusive. This presentation will discuss how a collaborative approach at the local level led to the creation of a healthy community for all.
Presenter #2, Rob Miyashiro
The Importance of Multi-Jurisdictional Collaborations with Age Friendly Communities
This part of our discussion will address the importance of collaboration within, and between municipalities, provinces (regions) and nationally. How did the City of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada develop a community wide collaboration that led to recognition by the World Health Organization and the United Nations for World Cities Day in 2020, and how was Age Friendly Lethbridge (AFL) involved? The Alberta Age Friendly Communities of Practice (AAFCP) connects Age Friendly Communities with those that are beginning the process or are in process – how do communities collaborate to assist each other to become Age Friendly. The Pan-Canadian Age Friendly Communities Reference Group brings together Age Friendly Community advocates from across Canada to disseminate relevant information and provide connection and mutual support. It is hoped that this part of the discussion will provide attendees with a clear picture of how local collaborations often feed into regional and national collaborations. We hope it will also provide optimism and motivation for those who are beginning this journey as well as those who have begun.
Presenter #3, Lisa Brancaccio
Facilitating Collaboration through a Provincial Knowledge Translation and Exchange Model
In the province of Ontario, Canada, the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Outreach Program (Outreach Program) uses a knowledge translation and exchange model that engages municipal age-friendly community initiatives (AFCIs), four regional age-friendly networks, and provincial policy partners. The Outreach Program’s model is carried out by a Knowledge Broker who develops relationships with, among, and between all three levels of Ontario’s network which allows for quick identification of and response to emerging needs and challenges of AFCIs. The model is designed to develop municipal capacity for sustainable AFCI planning and implementation, facilitate regional networking and knowledge sharing, and increase provincial response and coordination. It is an adaptable model that can contribute to advancing other multi-community development strategies in Canada and internationally.
This presentation will discuss how the Outreach Program’s knowledge translation and exchange model works at the municipal, regional and provincial level; how each of the components inform each other; and the importance of collaboration at and between all levels of a network to support the continued development of the age-friendly communities movement in Ontario and beyond.
Presenter #4, Kerry Anderson
Canada’s Collaborations to Support the Uptake of Age-Friendly Communities
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has demonstrated leadership on Age-Friendly Communities (AFC) since the establishment of the model in 2006. As an affiliate of the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities and as Canada’s lead for the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030), PHAC plays an important role to promote and support the uptake of AFC across Canada.
Since 2008, PHAC has led the Pan-Canadian Age-Friendly Communities Reference Group, an advisory and information-sharing body that provides leadership and advice to the Public Health Agency on AFC efforts. Through this group, PHAC gains knowledge of key issues, and works to provide supports and resources (e.g., tools and guides) in order to advance AFC in Canada.
The AFC Reference Group serves as a mechanism by which to convene partners – representatives from provincial/territorial governments, municipalities, non-profit organizations, seniors from AFC communities, researchers, and other partners – to exchange and learn from each other. Over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was great momentum to leverage each other’s knowledge and expertise to support municipal and provincial/territorial AFC efforts. This presentation will provide concrete examples of how collaborations between reference group members has helped to advance AFC in Canada.