Thank you. It's good to be back.
I want to thank the witnesses for being with us today on this important subject of poverty reduction.
My focus and responsibility is to represent Canadian seniors both in the general population and the north. Because you represent the north and the issues there, I'll be focusing my questions on the challenges that seniors face in the north.
I found it interesting that in 2008, the life expectancy of a male in the north was 68 and that it has now been reduced to 64. Life expectancy of the total population of Canada is 79, but in the north it's 15 years less. In the general population right now, one in six people is a senior. In six years it will one in five, and in 13 years it will be one in four. Yet in the north both men and women are living much shorter lifespans—they are expected to, and are—and there is a real concern that as a country we are not prepared for the aging population.
What are the challenges that seniors face in the north? We have heard about elder abuse, and I would like some more comments on that. How does access to housing and the housing shortage affect Canadian seniors?
Canadian seniors need to have their accommodation a little warmer than most of us do because they are not as mobile and physical, so the cost associated with keeping their housing warm is huge. We heard about tuberculosis and the other challenges of access and the need for social interaction. If that interaction includes elder abuse or is heading in that direction, it is very concerning.
Could you share with the committee how poverty reduction and housing affect seniors in the north? What are the challenges facing Canadian seniors in the north? How can the federal government help?
I will open it up to all the witnesses.