Who is Ontario Society of Senior Citizens’ Organizations/La Société des Organisations des Citoyens Aînés de l’Ontario (OSSCO)?

Ontario Society of Senior Citizens Organizations / La Société des Organisations des Citoyens Aînés de l’Ontario (OSSCO) is a provincial organization and a registered charity.

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 various learning and feedback activities.

Our members consist of seniors’ networks, alliances, groups and organizations as well as individual seniors. Our membership represents 500,000 senior citizens across Ontario with 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, ongoing seniors’ educational programming and community outreach, older people are kept informed on issues of interest to an aging Ontario, and ensure that their voices are heard by stakeholders.

Memorable Milestones

Since 1987, we have been instrumental in uniting seniors, and keeping them informed and engaged on current issues.

Here are some of the highlights of our accomplishments:

2017: OSSCO partners with 5 organizations to offer Job Search and Employment Networking Group programs in Toronto and the GTA to help older unemployed workers enhance their economic opportunities. Ontario Trillium Foundation funds this program from 2017 – 2021.

2016:  OSSCO launches a pilot project to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Unemployed Older Workers funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation.  The project helps people who face the challenge of finding employment, making a career change or starting a business as well as deciding to exit from the workplace.  

A Symposium called Reducing the Risk of Social Isolation and Loneliness: Celebrating Best Community Practices is videotaped and edited into 3 Seniors’ Conversations Worth Sharing: Home Alone: Reducing the Risk of Social Isolation and Loneliness. Some provincial training programs are offered in multiple languages i.e. French, Mandarin, Russian and Farsi.

2015: My Home, My Community: Safety Starts Here Conference is presented. This conference is the only one focusing on elder abuse awareness and prevention for people in a retirement home setting. The supporting educational brochure is developed with 2,000 copies distributed to retirement homes, libraries and seniors’ groups. An additional 3,000 brochures printed and distributed to assist seniors in finding information. The Roadmap for Information Decision Making a fact-finding report is published.

2014:  Shifting the Paradigm: Strategies for Positive Active Aging, is published with the results confirming that ageism exists. The report addresses 10 areas where clichés and stereotypes exist on getting older.  Strategies for a supportive and senior-sensitive society are included. An Elder Abuse Symposium is delivered in St. Catharines. The Roadmap for Informed Decision-Making project is completed in rural, large urban centres and northern Ontario, with feedback on why older people need access differently to make appropriate decisions.

2013: OSSCO launches the Tuesday Seniors’ Workshop program. Working with the Jamaican Canadian Association, OSSCO organizes the Elder Abuse Symposium: The Universal Challenge to raise awareness on the topic. OSSCO organizes an International Seniors Day event, a forum on Positive Aging.

2012: OSSCO in partnership with Unifor Retirees Local 598 organizes and presents the Elder Abuse Symposium: The Universal Challenge in Sudbury. The Symposium is standing room only.

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: OSSCO organizes a 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 over subscribed!

2001: Second Summer Learning Series for Seniors, a 4-part educational forum with Anne Balaban planned and presented by OSSCO, Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living and Ryerson’s Continuing Education Department. Organized forums on Long Term Care and Primary Health Care in response to the report: Long Term Care-In Limbo or Worse?

2000:  OSSCO receives funding for a play “If Not Now…When?” about seniors facing the future in our society. This play was performed in 6 cities in Ontario.

1999:  OSSCO hosts 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 is developed by OSSCO.

1997: The Older, Wiser, Living Stronger project is completed.

1996: Training for the Future for the Unemployed Older Worker and Retirees’ project has 10 workshops and a manual to enhance the 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 10thAnniversary!

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 as well as 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.