Who is Ontario Society of Senior Citizens' Organizations/La Société des Organisations des Citoyens Aînés de l’Ontario (OSSCO)?
We are a collaborative group of community minded individuals in our province who are committed to improving the quality of life for Ontario’s seniors. We do so by involving seniors through our various activities. Today, there are more than 140 organizations under OSSCO’s umbrella, representing 500,000 seniors in Ontario. In 2017, OSSCO celebrated 30 years of contributing to the quality of life for Ontario seniors.
We focus on 3 things – educational programming, research and public policy awareness. Through signature events and ongoing seniors' educational programming, we keep the older adult community informed on issues of interest to an aging Ontario, and ensure their voices are heard by stakeholders.
Our Mission & Vision
Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations (OSSCO) provides tools for learning and/or training to organizations and individuals. Through its members' feedback, OSSCO develops educational programs, content and resources for delivering empowerment-learning in the province. Highlighted are some of our signature events and in-demand educational programs:
- Ontario’s Premier Seniors’ Conference and Information Fair – Ontario’s only conference specific to older persons
- Elder Abuse: The Universal Challenge Symposium –strategies and interventions from potential elder abuse situations
Empowerment Learning Programs
- Housing and Healthy Discussions: What’s Next…a housing options planning workshop
- Senior Networks – a 6-week program enabling older adults to learn and enjoy computer technology
- Home Alone: Seniors' Conversations Worth Sharing … a 3-part video learning series to reduce loneliness and isolation
Engaging Seniors in Civic Dialogue: from Dialogue to Action … a seminar teaching how to bring about change
(also available in French, Russian, Farsi and Mandarin languages)
By reaching up to 500,000 seniors, OSSCO shares with and informs stakeholders and leaders what older adults require to be
empowered or programs to be created for them to age well.
2016-2020 Strategic Plan
In 2016, the Board of Directors revisited its previous Strategic Plan and developed 5 pillars for the organization. These 5 pillars are:
- Support full diversity of seniors in consultations in public policy process
Educate stakeholders on seniors’ issues
Ensure organizational effectiveness
Diversify funding sources
Grow organizational membership base
History and Milestones
The Ontario Society of Senior Citizens’ Organizations/La Société des Organisations des Citoyens Aînés de l’Ontario is the largest seniors’ organization in Ontario. Our inception in 1985 of seniors' organizations began in response to the proposed de-indexing of seniors’ pension. In 1987 OSSCO became a registered charity. Since then, we have been instrumental in uniting seniors, and keeping them informed and engaged on current issues. We continue our commitment to support seniors as they begin to age into disability or face new realities.
Here are some of the highlights of our accomplishments and milestones:
2016: OSSCO launches a pilot project to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Unemployed Older Workers. There are 3 focal points centred on helping those adults who face the challenge of employment and anothe focus on assisting with a successful exit from the workplace. Multiple workshops including one-on-one follow-up as well as group activities are offered from mid-August to May 2017.
A Symposium called Reducing the Risk of Social Isolation and Loneliness: Celebrating Best Community Practices is organized. This Symposium is videotaped and edited into 3 Seniors' Conversations Worth Sharing: Home Alone: Reducing the Risk of Social Isolation and Loneliness. The Speakers' Bureau is modified so that consistent workshops can be presented across the Province. Some workshops are available in multiple languages.
2015: My Home, My Community: Safety Starts Here Conference is organized and presented. This conference on elder abuse awareness and prevention for people living in a retirement home setting is then offered as a provincial workshop: 2,000 copies of an educational brochure are printed and distributed to retirement homes, libraries and seniors groups; 3,000 informational brochures are printed and distributed to assist seniors in finding information to assist with new life experiences. The Roadmap for Information Decision Making fact finding report is published.
2014: Publication of the report Shifting the Paradigm: Strategies for Positive Active Aging, the results of testing the supposition that ageism exists, and addressing the cliche and stereotypes of getting older with strategies for a supportive and senior-sensitive society. An Elder Abuse Symposium was delivered in St. Catharines in addition to the 5th annual Seniors' Educational Conference and Information Fair. The Roadmap for Informed Decision Making as we age project is completed in rural, large urban centres and northern Ontario.
2013: OSSCO launches the Tuesday Seniors' Workshop Series. Working with the Jamaican Canadian Association, the Elder Abuse Symposium: The Universal Challenge includes the Honourable Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors as the keynote speaker. OSSCO organizes an International Seniors Day, a forum on Positive Aging and offers leadership training to the not-for-profit sector on November 1, 2013. The Speakers’ Bureau delivers 9 community presentations.
2012: OSSCO in partnership with CAW Retirees Local 598 organizes and presents the Elder Abuse Symposium: The Universal Challenge in Sudbury. The event was oversubscribed!
2009-2010: OSSCO partners with Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat (OSS) to host a series of multicultural health and wellness fairs.
2009: OSSCO promotes the Age-Friendly Communities (AFC) model, publicized through 7 regional forums. This is a partnership with OSS and OSS Liaison Committee members.
2005: Publication of OSSCO’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Book.
2003: Organizing the Health & Homecare in the Multicultural Community Conference. Fourth Annual Summer Learning Series – The Media and You, planned and presented by OSSCO, Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living and Ryerson’s Continuing Education Department. Both events were sold out!
2001: Second Summer Learning Series for Seniors, a 4-part educational forum with Anne Balaban planned and presented by OSSCO/SOCAO, Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living and Ryerson’s Continuing Education Department. Submissions sent to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. Organized forums on Long Term Care and Primary Health Care in response to the report: Long Term Care-In Limbo or Worse?
2000: Funding of a play “If Not Now...When?” about seniors facing the future in our society. This play was performed in 6 cities in Ontario.
1999: Hosted 2 half-day sessions at the Fourth Global Conference on Aging held in Montreal with participation by seniors’ groups from across Canada. International Year of Older Persons Conference – The ABCs of Aging held at Ryerson Polytechnic University with 375 participants from across Ontario.
1998: A Snapshot of Caregiving in Ontario, a project that took a closer look at caregiving in diverse urban, rural, francophone and ethnic communities.
1997: The Older, Wiser, Living Stronger project is completed.
1996: Training for the Future for the Unemployed Older Worker and Retirees' project was completed. The 10 workshops and a manual were developed to enhance the independence and quality of life for older workers and retirees. OSSCO organizes the Conference – Getting out of the Hospital – The Long Road Home.
1995: OSSCO publishes and distributes Life Before Medicare: Canadian Experiences. OSSCO organizes a forum on problems facing seniors of different ethno cultural and racial minority communities called Diversity and Aging. OSSCO celebrates its 10th Anniversary!
1994: OSSCO’s Think Tank takes place. It also organizes the Home Alone: Who is Taking Care of our Elderly conference.
1993: OSSCO organizes several workshops on housing and health care. It also presents a Leadership Development Forum for Senior Women.
1992: As part of “The Senior Citizens’ Consumer Alliance for Long Term Care”, OSSCO holds 16 days of public hearings, 2 policy conferences, 7 mini-forums and issues a comprehensive report on the Ontario government’s proposals for redirected long term care. Final report to government and 6,000 organizations is presented.
1991: Citizen Participation in the Health Public Policy project.
1985: Seniors’ groups persuade the federal government to abandon its proposal to de-index the Old Age Security Pension. OCSSCO is founded as a result.
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