Ottawa – This Saturday, October 1st, marks Canada’s inaugural National Seniors Day and Carol Hughes is urging everyone to recognize the contributions of seniors and the pressing issues they face.

“This first-ever Seniors Day not only offers us an opportunity to give thanks and remember the important role that our seniors have played in building and shaping our country,” said Hughes.   “It also provides an opportunity to admit that we could be doing a much better job of making sure their golden years are not so difficult.”

While it is no secret that many of Canada’s seniors are living below the poverty line, this phenomenon has only gotten worse in recent years.  According to  the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, 36% of seniors (over 1.6 million) who are receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) are also living in poverty.

“I think people need to be made more aware that poverty rates among Canada’s seniors have increased by 25% since the financial meltdown of 2008,” said Hughes.  “This means more and more of the people who built our country are now being lost in the equation.”

“This is a good chance for us to recognize the important contributions seniors have made in creating the Canada we all enjoy.  With that in mind, we should not stop at recognizing seniors with a special day,” stated Hughes. “Canada, and especially this parliament, should be doing all we can to make sure that they are able to live in dignity and have the income and the services needed to do just that.”