Legislation to create seniors' advocate promised in B.C. throne speech

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      Premier Christy Clark's B.C. Liberal government says it will soon bring forth legislation to establish a seniors' advocate.

      This was one of several promises contained in the government's pre-election throne speech, which was delivered today (February 12) in Victoria by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon.

      "In the coming weeks, your government will also introduce legislation to establish a seniors' advocate and will bring forward a plan to address elder abuse," the throne speech says.

      The government had committed to creating an office of the seniors' advocate back in February 2012. 

      That pledge was made in response to B.C. ombudsperson Kim Carter's recommendation that the province "establish a program to provide support for seniors and their families to navigate the home and community care system and bring forward concerns and complaints by January 2013".

      "The Ministry of Health has not ensured that seniors and families have access to adequate assistance and support to navigate the complex home and community care system and bring forward concerns and complaints," Carter wrote in her February 2012 report on seniors' care.

      A May 2012 discussion paper issued by the Ministry of Health states: "The broad purpose of the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate could be to focus on the interests of seniors to ensure that their issues, needs and concerns are heard and considered in the provision of services and the development of public policy."

      The B.C. NDP has sought an independent seniors' advocate as far back as 2007.