Edmonton Pride Seniors Group Notes at SAGE – Sept. 9, 2019 (no July/Aug meetings)
Attendees: Dave Gilbert, Larry Jewell, Blair MacKinnon, Thais McKee, Michael Phair, Alvin Schrader, Colin Simpson, Robert
Smith, Michelle Smook, Eric Storey, John Toogood, Laurie Winder.
Regrets: Sydney Goss (on leave), Estefania Cortes-Vargas, Tammy Horne, Alex McNally, Jan Schmitz
- Welcome and Introductions – Welcome to returning member Colin Simpson and new member John Toogood. (Please note, I have removed James Lavoy and Ken MacDonald from the membership list, unless anyone objects, and your group
email lists should be adjusted accordingly – Alvin.)
- Review and looking ahead – Michael provided an overview of the development and key initiatives of our Group from 2013 inception, including the relationship with Sage. A contract with Alex to update the EPSG website is in process. Robert
suggested the Group engage in a strategic planning review in the coming months to identify priorities going forward.
- Housing Phase 2 update – Robert reported a core group of 13+ members for Phase 2 met with Lynn Hanley, Communitas, who facilitated a review of Phase 1. The group expressed “interest with cautious optimism” in moving ahead with Phase 2.
Project deadline is March 2020. Michael indicated the contract with Sage was in place. The whole spectrum of housing alternatives for older LGBTQ2S Edmontonians will be looked into, not just long-term care housing needs. A Phase 3 initiative
is envisaged for raising awareness among the older community about the unique challenges we and other minorities such as older newcomers and two-spirit people face in congregate and home care living. Robert indicated the main practical goal is
ensure the City is onside.
- Tri-City Project – Michelle provided an update on the Edmonton sub-committee progress to date. They have met every two weeks since May, and Ann Goldblatt will facilitate the next meeting on Sept. 18. Key ideas identified so far are: ensuring
projects are sustainable after the federal funding period is over; ensuring there is bold programming; leveraging existing events; identifying isolated seniors; partnering with the Seniors Without Walls group to launch the Aging With Pride
phone-in service, through the Southside Primary Care Network; collaborating with iSMSS to enlist a graduate student for research; and hiring a contract worker. Michelle did a thorough job description and she and Michael are exploring
possibilities. The tri-city project leads will meet in Saskatoon in early November. Michael has requested a project extension to Nov. 15, 2020, still to be confirmed. Michael indicated federal support for the final event of up to $25,000 is a positive
possibility, to be hosted by Winnipeg and partly held at the Human Rights Museum. Michael and Alvin will develop a proposal by December in consultation with the three groups. Michael mentioned that it’s important to document lessons
learned including those that didn’t work. Michael indicated a “Phase 2” federal funding possibility, as long as we identify new initiatives and progress.
Thais described an 18-month grant to “Connecting Edmonton Seniors: Stewardship Roundtable” that is charged with identifying tangible things to improve the lives of Edmonton seniors in general and to extend more knowledge to action.
Coming out of the original Pegasus to address social isolation, Laurie mentioned the interagency group is very diverse with collaboration by 45 members. However, Thais asked if there were any LGBTQ2S members and they said they were not
aware of any. The group is meeting Sept. 11 and Thais will propose a luncheon meeting with Ann facilitating conversation for LGBTQ2S seniors to raise awareness and develop tailored programs, by drawing on the lists of participants in the
Intergeneration and Housing projects as potential invitees. Michael mentioned it’s important with this group to also document lessons learned and ideas that did and didn’t work.
Michael mentioned that the executive directors from the Winnipeg and Saskatoon pride centres met with Michelle, Alvin, and him, on the afternoon before a federal press conference at the Pride Centre on Aug. 15 to announce funding for several
LGBTQ projects. This was an invaluable opportunity to exchange information on the tri-city project and more generally. Just prior to the announcement, the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, led a roundtable of some 20 agency representatives, along with Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti, MP and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Randy Boissonnault, and new Executive Director Estefania
Cortes-Vargas facilitating. Michael, Thais, and Alvin attended.
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council – Eric reported on the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, indicating a usage report of the Edmonton Seniors Centres shows very low engagement with no acknowledgment of the special needs of
LGBTQ2S seniors. Through the Social Planning Council, he intends to interview marginalized individuals to ascertain their use of Seniors Centres and what active steps can be taken to make them/us feel welcome. A series of podcasts is planned
and a “myspace” podcast asking, “What makes this place mine?”
Egale – Alvin reported that the National Seniors Advisory Group had not met over the summer; its primary value so far seems to be information about resources and links.
Seniors Without Walls – Larry indicated that this project is still “aspirational” and needs a rethink to attract phone-in participants. A facilitator is needed to provide some structure and solicit 10-minute talks to stimulate conversation.
Michelle’s work ties in nicely to this. Blair will follow up on a CBC program that worked well a few months ago.
ext Meetings – Oct. 7; Nov. 4.
Notes prepared by Alvin Schrader