Chief Operating Officer, C.A.R.P.
Known for being a strong seniors’ advocacy group, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (C.A.R.P.) is increasingly providing its over 330,000 members with information, resources, and tools to achieve healthier aging. We spoke to Bill VanGorder, C.A.R.P.’s Chief Operating Officer, to learn more.
Why is C.A.R.P. now adding more information, resources, and tools?
Our members need it and want it. Older Canadians especially are realizing that not everything depends on government policies, which take a lot of time to change. We need to start doing things ourselves. Also, older Canadians today are much more energetic and proactive than in previous generations. They want to be in control and need the tools and resources to do that.
What kind of information is C.A.R.P. providing and how are you getting it across?
We cover numerous topics related to healthy aging like sleep, pain management, and vaccines, and are communicating across every resource available. We’re finding that, with the pandemic, older Canadians have become much more familiar and comfortable with using online and digital resources. Our webinars, which we post afterwards on our website, attract as many as 3,000 people. We often bring in guest speakers to our national and local events and publish special reports that people can download.
What’s been the response of your members so far?
They’ve been very enthusiastic. Our audience actively seeks out information and they always have many questions, both at the event itself and then online later, which we follow through on. We think we have credibility because we work with trusted experts to provide reliable resources.
How does this fit in with your work on policy advocacy?
It’s totally consistent. We’re applying more focused pressure on government, looking for shorter-term, concrete, and specific action, not just high-sounding, abstract policies. In the same way, this direct approach is what motivates the expansion of our services for information and tools. We want people to be able to understand so they can take action right now and make a difference.
How does this fit in with your work on providing member discounts?
Again, it’s totally consistent. Our portfolio of close to 100 “MONEY YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU HAD” members-only discounts puts more cash in people’s pockets and addresses one of the most urgent needs that our members report, which is financial security amidst inflation and the rising cost of living. Being able to offer discounts is a direct action that C.A.R.P. provides that makes a difference right now.