Debates of the Senate  
  2nd Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 144, Issue 41.
    Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Orders of the Day

Interim Report of Special Committee- Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third (interim) report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging entitled Issues and Options for an Aging Society, tabled in the Senate earlier this day. Hon. Sharon Carstairs moved the adoption of the report.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, in the same vein of comments, I believe Saskatchewan is noted as one of the areas of Canada that has the highest volunteer rate. I noted in your speech that you said one activity that keeps seniors youthful is volunteering in the community.

Senator Carstairs: Yes, that is correct. One option we propose is whether we should recognize volunteerism through some kind of payment system or tax relief. As I indicated, it is an option at this point in time. We have learned and it is clear that people who are volunteers as seniors were volunteers before they became seniors. Volunteering is a life-long commitment. As they become older, particularly in their 70s and 80s, they may slow down a little. However, the reality is that an active senior is a senior who volunteers.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The Honourable Senator Carstairs' time has expired. Is the honourable senator asking for more time?

Senator Carstairs: Five minutes, if there are questions.

Senator Dyck: When talking about volunteerism and recognizing volunteers monetarily, does the honourable senator see a gender dimension as well in that many women spend a lot of time doing volunteer work, and women tend to live longer than men?

Senator Carstairs: We have clearly seen the gender dimension in the number of women providing care. That is why we also talked about an option for a benefit for caregivers and an option that would recognize that individuals who take time off to care for the elderly should be given the same consideration as those who take care of young children. That caregiving has been recognized in the Canada Pension Plan but caring at the other end of life has not been. We also looked at that as an option.

On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.