Association president advocating for older persons at UN

May 28, 2024
Roy Goodall, president of the National Association of Federal Retirees.
Federal Retirees president Roy Goodall says it’s time for an international standard for the protection of older persons’ rights.

In May, Association president Roy Goodall represented the Federal Retirees community at the United Nations (UN) Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, advocating for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

Federal Retirees attended the UN working group as a founding organization of the Canadian Coalition Against Ageism. During a related event hosted by International Longevity Centre Canada, Goodall asked the panelists, including Canada’s UN ambassador Bob Rae, why Canada has not yet committed to a convention. 

“A convention would protect the rights of older persons, recognize their valuable economic and social contributions, and provide a comprehensive framework to help eliminate ageism and age discrimination globally,” said Goodall. “Given Canada’s history of supporting human rights internationally, why hasn’t the government walked through the open door to support a convention?”

Federal Retirees is calling on Canada to formally support a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. Join our campaign today.

Later, during plenary discussions on older persons’ participation in public life and decision-making processes, Goodall delivered remarks with a special focus on older persons’ participation in informing health-care policy, especially as health care shifts to include more virtual delivery.

“Recent shifts to virtual health care risk excluding older persons due to financial and other barriers,” noted Goodall. “It is imperative that older persons have agency and dignity when it comes to their health care, and that their voices are included in health-care policy and decision-making. This will help safeguard their fundamental rights of access to, and full enjoyment of, health and health care.”

Watch Goodall’s remarks and question below.

This was the 14th meeting of the working group, which was established by the UN’s General Assembly in 2010 to consider the international framework on the human rights of older persons and to identify possible gaps and how best to address them. In a step forward, member states at this working group accepted a landmark report that reviewed more than a decades’ worth of proceedings and inputs of the working group over 13 sessions. The report includes several recommendations regarding the identification of possible gaps in the protection of the human rights of older persons and how best to address them. One of these recommendations is to establish a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.

Canada’s support is integral to moving this forward. Join our campaign calling for a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons today.