December 13th, 2019

Seniors advocate pays visit to Veiner Centre

By GILLIAN SLADE on September 24, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO GILLIAN SLADE
Sheree Kwong See, Alberta seniors advocate since September 2016, addresses a group of seniors at the Veiner Centre on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

Alberta’s seniors advocate was in Medicine Hat on Monday to hear directly from seniors about what the office has accomplished and any changes they would like to see in future.

The seniors advocate office was first established in 2014 and Sheree Kwong See was appointed for a three-year term in September 2016.

The office was established under a “ministerial order” rather than an “act” and currently performs two roles, advocating on issues that affect seniors and also assisting seniors in navigating their way through a process to achieve a resolution on issues they’re dealing with.

“We’re a little under resourced for a two-pronged role,” said Kwong See.

The seniors advocate does not have the authority to compel a resolution but at times it has stepped in on behalf of a senior to advocate for a solution.

The office has a staff of six, including Kwong See, and has handled 3,560 client cases since 2016. The budget for the office is about $980,000 with $770,000 of that accounting for salaries and benefits.

The feedback from clients has been positive with 91 per cent saying they would contact the office again. Kwong See says some clients have misunderstood the purpose of the office and thought it would compel a resolution for the situation they were dealing with.

Kwong See has quarterly meetings with the minister, bi-monthly meetings with the deputy minister and annually with the federal minister.

The ministerial order for this office expires at the end of December. Kwong See will be providing a report that could contribute to government decisions on whether the office is necessary and on what basis it should operate in future.

The seniors advocate office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached toll free: 1-844-644-0682. You can also connect via email: seniors.advocate@gov.ab.ca

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