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Retired teachers' group wants federal election candidates to shine a light on three key issues

The Retired Teachers of Ontario want to hear what all candidates have to say on environmental stewardship, geriatric healthcare, and seniors strategy
Courtesy: RTOERO

A group representing some 80k+ retired teachers in the province is calling on its members to work together and shine a light on a trio of topics it says aren't getting enough attention.

The Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTOERO) say they are ''sounding the alarm'' on issues of dignity and survival.

"The three big areas for our total membership are a seniors strategy, more geriatric healthcare, and certainly a focus on the environment," said Jim Grieve, CEO, RTOERO.

On geriatric healthcare, the RTOERO says a major issue for seniors across the country is access to prescription medication.

"We have a wonderful health system here in Canada but we're the only country in the world that has a universal healthcare system but doesn't provide universal drug coverage," said Grieve. "And that, to me, is a horrendous oversight on the part of the federal government but also the provincial governments."

Meantime, when it comes to having a seniors strategy, Grieve says there is no federal strategy right now that gives any guidance on ensuring things like pharmacare, income security, and social isolation.

"Social isolation, by the way, is probably one of the worst negative health factors for seniors," he said. "Once they lose connection with family, friends, et cetera, and become isolated, their physical health and mental health is deeply affected negatively."

The RTOERO also points to problems with the long-term care system and a desire from most seniors to grow old in their own home, saying the system needs to change.

"We need much more in-home care for seniors," Grieve said.

"The medical circumstance in Canada, and particularly in Ontario these days, is on a break-fix notion as opposed to prevention," he said. "We need to prevent people from going into these long-term care situations as long as we possibly can."

On top of issues affecting seniors directly, the group says it is also concerned with issues which will impact future generations like environmental stewardship.

Specifically, Grieve says they're calling for candidates to talk more about how they would reduce the amount of non-recycled waste and ensuring access to safe water supply.

"I've been around some years and I can't think in my history as a professional or even going to university and whatnot, that there has ever been a time when there hasn't been a boil water request on almost every First Nation or Indigenous reserve and then some," he said. "I can't believe, that in 2021, there hasn't been substantial, immediate change in the process."

RTOERO is calling on its members and other Canadians to send a letter to their candidates, whomever they may be, to ask for their positions on these issues.

The group is also running a social media campaign featuring a campaign video called 'One voice.'

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