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New seniors advocate announced by province

KinVillage CEO Dan Levitt will replace Isobel Mackenzie when she retires in April

The new seniors advocate for B.C. is a familiar face to many here in South Delta.

On Friday afternoon, the province announced that current KinVillage CEO Dan Levitt has been appointed as the province’s second Seniors Advocate.

Levitt will replace Isobel Mackenzie when she retires on April 5.

“Dan Levitt has championed the rights of seniors for 30 years and with his extensive experience he is an excellent choice for B.C.’s seniors advocate,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in a news release. “Isobel Mackenzie became the first seniors advocate in Canada and we thank her for being a powerful, impactful voice. With Mr. Levitt, government will continue to work collaboratively to help seniors throughout the province to live their healthiest, happiest lives.”

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the provincial government, which acts in the interest of seniors and their caregivers. The office monitors and analyzes seniors’ services and makes recommendations to government and service providers to address systemic issues in five areas: health care; housing; income support; community support; and transportation.

“I greatly admire the work of Isobel Mackenzie, and I understand the advocacy needed to advance the rights of seniors and analyze the most pressing issues impacting their welfare,” said Levitt. “My goal is for every senior, their families, and their caregivers to be able to exercise their agency to access the supports and services they need. As seniors advocate, I will work collaboratively with seniors, government officials and service providers to promote healthy aging.”

Mackenzie said it has been an honour and a privilege to serve as seniors advocate for the Province of B.C.

“Our population is aging, and seniors need the ability to live independently at home, knowing the programs and services to support them are easily accessible to everyone,” she said. “As issues such as dementia, housing, and elder care become more complex, it’s crucial to advocate for strengthened seniors’ services throughout the province. I know Dan is ready to continue the cause and his efforts will make a difference in the lives of seniors for years to come.”

KinVillage board president Lois Wilkinson said Levitt will leave his role as CEO in March.

“Dan has provided exemplary leadership at KinVillage supporting older adults to live their lives fully while building strong relationships in the community, leading to new programs and services while strengthening the delivery of direct service care and supports,” said Wilkinson. “Join me in thanking Dan for his commitment, dedication and tireless service guiding KinVillage as a caring community where every person feels they matter and for publicly advocating for the rights of older persons. He will be missed.”

Wilkinson said a selection committee will shortly be formed to permanently fill the CEO role for this spring.

“It has been an honour and privilege to work with the leadership team, staff members, families, older persons living at and receiving services provided by KinVillage and the board of directors to advance forward on many fronts for our community and the hundreds of seniors we serve each day,” said Levitt. “I’m so proud of the many accomplishments we achieved as a team. They include beginning construction of 152 units of affordable senior housing, achieving exemplary status with Accreditation Canada and starting the $5 million capital campaign to enhance the Day Program for Older Adults.”