Government of Canada works in three distinct levels. Federal,
Provincial and Municipal. Each of these levels of Government has taken
a unique approach in disseminating information over the Internet. All
information is available to the Canadian citizen twenty-four hours a
day, seven days a week, ensuring faster, more in-depth and convenient
access to services and information.
part about having this information available to Canadians is the
research material available. We can now attend government facilities
armed with the correct questions and information. We can avoid long
lines, only to find out that we are in the wrong place. We can boycott
the hours spent listening to Musack while "waiting for the next
available operator", I know, I know, "you're very sorry for the
inconvenience". All that these online sites require is a little web
savvy and some time to swim through the volumes of archived
information. You can even file your taxes online now! Welcome Canada to
the twenty-first century!
Lets explore some of
the federal government offerings together. From the main government Web
site, I found an area with all kinds of information specific to seniors
living in Canada, Seniors Canada Online. In addition to several links of specific
interest to our seniors, one can even get an application for the Canada Pension Plan right online. It should be mentioned here that you will need to download the free program Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read any PDF file (Portable Document
File). This is an important program for any net surfer because, quite
often, when clicking on a link, you run into a surprise PDF file.
Another major online initiative on the part of the Federal Government is the Health Canada website. Within this site information can be found on
many major conditions including Cancer, Diabetes and Aids. Perhaps one
of the most interesting features of this website, is its late breaking
information on health and health-care in Canada.
One Health Canada publication available in a PDF format of particular interest to seniors and their caregivers is the Seniors Guide to Federal Programs and Services to Federal Programs and Services. It is a comprehensive guide to what is currently available to
our Canadian Seniors. But beware; it is a huge file, 3 MB, which
translates to 91 pages. If the prospect of such a large file is
daunting, there is contact information available for requesting this
document in diskette form, large print, audio-cassette format and
You can also find a comprehensive guide to all online Government of Canada Departments and Agencies. From within this list
you will find shortcuts to The Bank of Canada, The Canada Post
Corporation, Elections Canada and Via Rail Canada Inc. Just about any
federal information you may need, you will be able to find within this
So what is available to seniors and
Caregivers, within the Federal Government series of websites?
Everything. Let me take you through a scenario.
senior mom moves in with you, because, unfortunately, your father has
passed and she is unable to live independently. You first investigate
her pension rights and entitlements as a widow. Did you know that there
is money within the CPP for helping to cover the cost of some funerals?
So, you download applications for both changing her CPP status and applying for funeral benefits. You find out that Mom needs to have her Social Insurance Number to apply, but she has long since lost her card
and forgotten her number. Another quick search, you have an application
feeding through your printer. Fabulous! - Her income is well on the way
to being secured.
You look around your house
and quickly realize that there will need to be some modifications done
to accommodate her limited mobility. You, however, are on a tight
budget and are unable to afford these changes. What do you do? You find
the Office for Disability Issues and you research what programs are available to help fund the renovations.
Okay, so mom is settled but is getting restless - she wants to go on her annual cruise. So, you check with Health Canada to see if there are any international Health Warnings.
You see that the Caribbean is all clear, so you book a cruise for mom.
But she needs to know what trinkets she can bring back for the
grandkids. Dad had always kept her in check; he knew exactly what could
legally be brought into the country and the quantity restrictions. So,
you are off to the Canada Customs website to read up on import taxes and restrictions.
you get the idea. There is a great deal out there. So much, that we
will be bringing you future articles, covering provincial and municipal
sites. As well, we will cover individual sites within each of these
three governments. We would love to hear from you. What gems have you
found within our Government websites? What is lacking? Please feel free
to use our community message boards to discuss your experiences. Or let
us know what you would like us to investigate for you. Or better yet,
write an article for this site yourself! This is your community.