On December 1, 2014, the Town of Whitby joined the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. This committed the municipality to engaging seniors and the Whitby community in reviewing the characteristics of an Age-Friendly Community, identifying partnerships and developing recommendations for an Age-Friendly Whitby Action Plan.
Defined, Age-Friendly Communities are 'supportive physical and social environments that enable older people to live active, safe and meaningful lives and continue to contribute in all areas of community life'.
The World Health Organization provides assessment tools for Age-Friendly Communities based on eight dimensions:
In 2015, the Town received a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Seniors to assist with the development of an Age-Friendly Action Plan. A steering committee was developed to oversee the project and community consultations took place through focus groups, Public Information Centres and a community survey. Community organizations, Regional and Town staff were also consulted throughout the process. As a result 72 recommendations were identified to make Whitby an even better place for seniors to live, work and play. The plan was approved by Council in May 2017 and implementation is now underway.
Two versions of the plan were created and can be accessed below:
An Age-Friendly Whitby Network has been formed and is made up of Seniors, Community Partners and Town Staff. Their purpose is to oversee the implementation of recommendations within the Age-Friendly Whitby Action Plan. Although municipally led, completion of the objectives depends significantly on organizations and support within the Whitby community. Progress will be monitored through resident feedback and annual reporting to Town of Whitby Council. The Town of Whitby, Seniors and the Community are excited to be undertaking this initiative to ensure Whitby remains the Community of Choice for its residents.