Local Planning for an Aging Population in Ontario: Two Case Studies
Local planning for an aging population in Ontario is multi-sectorial, involving a variety of policy initiatives and a complex funding system. It is important to understand what planning bodies have jurisdiction over issues associated with aging in the community, the extent to which such issues are acknowledged and acted upon, and how these planning initiatives come together in a local context. This paper examines planning activity related to aging issues in two contrasting upper-tier municipalities, Simcoe County and Metropolitan Toronto (prior to amalgamation), as case studies. Planning documents from the upper-tier municipalities, their constituent lower-tier municipalities, and corresponding District Health Councils were reviewed. On the surface, the aging of the populations of these two municipalities appeared to be much the same as for the province as a whole. However, the context in which these populations were aging was very different, not just at the upper-tier level, but also between and within their lower-tier municipalities. The specific aging related issues identified by the local planning bodies and the approaches used to address them varied considerably, often at a very local, neighbourhood level. It was found that in the absence of other contextual information, the proportion of the elderly in the population per se can be a poor indicator of the specific planning issues which develop.
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