The following is written and submitted by Ramona Kaptyn, president of the White Rock/Surrey chapter of CARP.
CARP is Canada’s largest non-profit, non-partisan advocacy association for older Canadians, with more than 320,000 members aged 45-plus. You don’t have to be retired to join the organization, also known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. CARP is committed to working with all governments to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, freedom from ageism and more. Members engage in polls and petitions.
There are 26 CARP chapters across Canada with one in White Rock/Surrey comprised of a volunteer board of directors which includes Ramona Kaptyn (president), April Lewis, Denice Thompson, Maureen Annable and Deborah Harsant. Ramona is also a director on the CARP national board.
The White Rock/Surrey team presents educational events throughout the year (many with the Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table). It also hosts entertaining social events including ‘Salute to Seniors’ every October with the City of White Rock.
The White Rock/Surrey CARP team has advocated for free hospital parking, changes to federal laws to protect pensions when companies go bankrupt (most recently Sears). It is currently fighting for better safety in Surrey because it feels there are not enough police officers or firefighters to protect residents. It has also partnered with Crime Stoppers to fight senior abuse.
Nationally, CARP and its members have successfully advocated for:
• Increasing the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) from 25% to 33% of earnings and eligible pension earnings from $54,000 to $82,700 annually.
• Restoring Old Age Security (OAS) to 65 from 67 years of age.
• Securing $3 Billion in Homecare Funding that will be extended to $6 Billion over 10 years.
• Getting an extra $1,000 per year for Canada’s poorest seniors.
Top priorities continue to be better healthcare, improving pensioner protection, RRIF reform, combating elder abuse in long-term care homes, and promoting fitness.
CARP does not receive government operating funding; it depends on membership fees and contributions from affinity partnerships. It is affiliated with Zoomer Media, which presents a Zoomer Show each year. The 2020 show is March 7 and 8 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The White Rock/Surrey chapter of CARP has presented two mega-fashion shows with speakers and a raffle in the past, with partial proceeds going to Avalon Recovery Society for Women in 2014, and All Abilities/All Generations Playground in 2016. The next one is on Saturday, May 16, 2020, with partial proceeds going to fund a student enrolled in the arts. The theme is ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,’ so start planning your “Alice in Wonderland” costumes or just wear your favourite fabulous hat. More details will be available soon.