Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, February 21, 2018 - In light of exclusionary flaws in the present consultation process on seniors in Montreal, CRARR has formally asked City Ombudsman Johanne Savard to intervene with a view to determine whether these flaws discriminate against Anglophone, minority and immigrant seniors, and low income seniors of all backgrounds.

In a letter addressed to Ombudsman Savard today, CRARR cites numerous problems with the City's consultation on the Municipal Plan of Action for Seniors 2018-2020, also known as MADA in French. These problems have been recently identified by a team of Concordia University researchers who specialize in seniors' issues. They constitute, in CRARR's opinion, “barriers of systemic discrimination based on the intersectionality of language, race, ethnic or national origin, social condition, disability and age.” These problems include:

❑ The short timeline for public consultation, to be held in February, in the midst of winter;

❑ The original lack of English information on the website (this oversight has since been corrected last week);

❑ The absence of pro-active outreach to certain segments of the senior population, such as the English-speaking communities of racial and ethnocultural backgrounds, and seniors of all backgrounds who live in poverty and isolation;

❑ The absence of official consultation forums in boroughs, such as NDG-CDN, Pierrefonds, Lachine, South West and Montreal-North, where minority communities live in great numbers; and

❑ The use of digital means to collect opinions, and the lack of other venues to collect input, a situation which creates major disadvantages for seniors with low-income and low general literacy.

CRARR raises the possibility of the City violating provisions of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, regarding equality and dignity. It also stresses its failure to consider the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, notably s. 7, which provides that older persons should “participate actively in the formulation and implementation of policies that directly affect their well-being”.

“We call upon you to intervene in order to determine … what remedies or corrective actions must be set in place by the City to remove these barriers in the present consultation process, and to prevent similar forms of exclusion and discrimination from taking place,” wrote CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

Earlier this week, CRARR also joined a coalition of seniors and other community groups from Anglophone, racialized and ethnocultural communities in Montreal that are demanding changes to the consultation process and an extension of the consultation till Spring.