Canada’s first ever summit on seniors’ transportation
On May 12th 2022, we held our inaugural trailblazing national event to help future-proof transportation in Canada.
This virtual event, hosted on Zoom, was the culmination of F.A.S.T. Track – a national initiative supporting transportation innovation, led by HelpAge Canada and delivered by CanAge and O’Hara Aging + Accessibility.
Hundreds of you joined this cross-country conversation connecting government officials, leaders in transportation and aging, community organizations and members of the general public to share ideas, knowledge and discuss the findings of Canada’s first-ever snapshot of seniors’ transportation.
See a line up of our speakers.
We also announced our 2022 Award Winners at the event.
Check out a recording of the event below.
Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO CanAge
Laura Tamblyn Watts is CEO of CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization.
On top of being a leading media commentator on issues affecting older adults, a soon-to-be published author and international aging expert, Laura also sits on numerous advisory boards and committees working on a wide range of senior-focused challenges, including national standards of long-term care and retirement security.
With more than 20 years of experience defending the rights and dignity of older people as a lawyer and thought-leader, Laura is one of Canada’s foremost advocates for seniors and caregivers.
Gregor Sneddon, Executive Director HelpAge Canada
Gregor has been with HelpAge Canada since 2019, just in time to lead Canada’s first pan-Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Relief response for older Canadians. HelpAge Canada supports community-based initiatives in through its partnerships locally and abroad to improve the lives of older persons and their communities. HelpAge is a founding member of HelpAge International,a global network of more than 150 partners in over 85 countriesand a leading international NGO in Ukraine. He is a proud Dad and husband and likes to cook with loud Jazz.
Aislin O’Hara, Founder O’Hara Aging + Accessibility
Aislin O’Hara is one of Canada’s top senior’s transportation experts. Aislin is an Internationally recognized presenter on age-friendly transportation, her work on enhancing the customer journey for older adults using specialized transit was published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board and presented at the Washington TRB Conference. After leading growth in senior’s transportation within the public sector for over a decade, Aislin founded O’Hara Aging + Accessibility to provide strategic guidance to mobilize and shape the future of older adults in Canada. Aislin has designed, authored and published over 37 age-inclusive policies, executed large-scale stakeholder engagement initiatives and developed strategies and community action plans to improve access to transportation for seniors’ across the country. Aislin is presently working with F.A.S.T Track Canada to identify innovation in seniors transportation and is passionate about mobilizing growth, disrupting the status quo and making major leaps in seniors transportation within our nation.
Valerie Lefler, Founder and Executive Director Feonix-Mobility Rising
Ms. Lefler is an international expert in rural transportation, accessibility, and mobility as a service. In just its first three years, Feonix has launched programs in 7 states with notable partners, including the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, Easterseals, the AARP Office of Driver Safety, Toyota North America, Centene Corporation, and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Lefler was featured by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “Top 9 Innovators to Watch” and has also been highlighted in publications such as the New York Times, NPR, and the Christian Science Monitor. Valerie graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln with adegree in Business Administration after studying International Economics abroad at the University of Oxford. She also received her master’s degree with honors in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Management from the University of Nebraska—Omaha. She and her husband Joe now reside with their 2 children in a small town outside of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kate Schramm, Director of Programs and Partnerships Feonix-Mobility Rising
Kate Schramm is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for Feonix -Mobility Rising. In this role, she creates relationships and environments that rise above perceived limitations. Kate has worked for non-profits, educational institutions, for-profit companies, and, just before her employment with Feonix, as an Area Manager for a rural-focused Mobility as a Service (MasS) start-up. At Feonix, Kate manages programs in 7 states and leads partnerships for the organization. While instituting positive change in her own community has always been a way of life, Kate has made it her personal and professional mission to use her desire to serve and ability to lead to remove mobility barriers and create sustainable mobility solutions in communities around the world.
Mary Wilson, Senior’s Advocate
My name is Mary Wilson. My home city is New Westminster, British Columbia. I am a senior, and since retiring in 2001 I have increasingly been involved in advocating for pedestrians in my city. Walking is the most universal transportation mode but also one of the least likely modes to be represented by a strong voice at any transportation planning table. Ensuring that pedestrian voices are heard has been my mission for almost two decades. It’s been challenging, frustrating and rewarding.
2022 Award Recipients
SCALE Stream awards innovative solutions that are already in place and making an impact on seniors’ transportation.
TEST Stream awards innovative ideas to improve seniors’ transportation that are feasible and would make a significant impact for older adults, but are not yet implemented.
Scale Stream Awards Winners
Village of Granisle
Granisle Transportation Service
The Granisle Transportation Service is an innovative shuttle bus that provides a reliable, scheduled service for Seniors within a very rural & remote Village in B.C. to access shopping & medical, which are over 100km away. During the pandemic, they utilized the transportation shuttle to reduce food security issues for seniors within their community. Collaboration between the bus service, a local restaurant, Seniors’ Association and Better at Home that delivers hot, nutritious lunch to seniors every Monday. They have delivered over 1400 meals and completed over 300 groceries and perscription deliveries. In 2021 they completed over 1100 one-way trips. Learn more.
York Region Transit
Mobility On-Request 65+
During the pandemic, York Region Transit (YRT) was aware of a vulnerable demographic that did not qualify for paratransit but did not feel comfortable riding in a large conventional bus. YRT’s Mobility On-Request service decided to provide shorter trips (within 5 kilometers), on the smaller paratransit vehicles to residents who were 65+ in age. This enabled them to get their groceries and medication and get back home quickly. There is no registration requirement and it leveraged existing resources. Learn more about how YRT fostered innovation by breaking out of the traditional paratransit mode, in order to do and continue doing the right thing, for seniors in their community. Learn more.
Sou’West Nova Transit Association
Beyond Point-A to Point-B
In the rural area of Shelbourne County, Nova Scotia, this charity transportation provider does more than just get seniors from point-A to point-B. Learn more about their partnerships with Senior Safety Services and how they are connecting 19 other providers to create a province wide seniors transportation dispatch system. Learn more.
Test Stream Awards Winners
South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
CAST is an innovative idea where two community-based seniors serving agencies will combine transportation programs. South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) and Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (NPNH) will work together and share resources to partner on an expanded hybrid service delivery model. Transportation will be offered by both volunteers and a paid driver. Volunteer recruitment, screening, training and engagement would be done collectively between organizations ensuring a larger pool of volunteers are available and engaged.
Our Greenway Conservancy
Seniors e-trike & e-rickshaw program
Practical mobility in Suburban Neighbourhoods for Seniors: A free e-Trike and e-Rickshaw program delivered in partnership between Our Greenway Conservancy & Toronto Council on Aging. This project will bring e-cycle micro mobility solutions to older adults living in Toronto and fill the gap in transportation infrastructure – specifically the free use of e-trikes and e-rickshaws. Learn more about their successful pilot in north western Toronto and how this innovative solution can benefit both seniors and the environment.
ASK Friendship Society
Affordable Bus Rental Program
Affordable Bus Rentals for Organizations Caring for Seniors is an innovative concept to develop a program where organizations who own wheelchair accessible vehicles are able to rent those vehicles out at an affordable price to other organizations who are unable to purchase an accessible vehicle for their fleet. The Affordable Bus Rentals for Organizations Caring for Seniors project developed by ASK.