Minister Khera to participate in the 13th Session of the United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing

News release

March 27, 2023              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Canada’s Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera, today announced she will be in New York to participate in the 13th Session of the United Nations Open Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA), which is taking place from April 3 to 6, 2023. OEWGA considers the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identifies possible gaps on how to best address them, including by considering, as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures. The 13th Session will focus on the right to health and access to health services and social inclusion.

While in New York, Minister Khera will deliver Canada’s National Statement and will engage with her counterparts to discuss efforts to advance older persons’ human rights and efforts to support older persons around the world. Canada is a global leader in supporting older persons with a robust pension plan and universal health care system. We look forward to sharing our experience and working collaboratively to improve the lives of older persons here and around the world.

Throughout her visit, Minister Khera will have the opportunity to demonstrate Canada’s engagement and active leadership in supporting the promotion and protection of human rights, including the rights of older persons, by participating in the panel on the right to health and access to health services. There Minister Khera will highlight the government’s efforts to improve Canada’s healthcare system notably, through a recent historic funding package of $198.6 billion to repair damages caused by the pandemic, and prepare the healthcare system for the future. She will also have the opportunity to emphasize how the foundational values of universality and accessibility contribute to Canada’s position as a global leader in health services for older individuals.

Additionally, Minister Khera will meet with counterparts from other Member States, senior UN officials, and key civil society participants. The Minister will also deliver the keynote address at the International Longevity Centre (ILC) Canada side-event on April 4. In her remarks, the Minister will highlight Canada’s efforts to improve conditions in long-term care. The Government of Canada recently welcomed the release of new national standards for long-term care homes and it is investing $3 billion over 5 years to support provinces and territories to implement the standards. This aims to ensure that all seniors can access high-quality and safe care, regardless of where they live.

The Government of Canada remains committed to support older persons as they age. In Canada, older persons are protected by a robust legal framework, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and provincial and territorial human rights codes, all of which prohibit discrimination based upon age. In a rapidly ageing global context, Canada acknowledges the need to promote the rights of older persons so that they can fully contribute in social, economic, cultural and political life without discrimination.


“Discussing the ways to best protect older persons’ human rights is immensely important as we witnessed significant tragedies during the pandemic. Canada’s participation to the next session is extremely important as we are making historic investments in our healthcare and long-term care system to prepare for the needs of our aging population. Because all seniors, regardless of where they live, should be able to access high-quality and safe care whenever they need it."

– Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera

Quick facts

  • The 13th Session of the UN OEWGA will take place from April 3 to 6 in New York. The 13th Session will focus on the right to health and access to health services and social inclusion. 

  • In 2010, the UN General Assembly established the OEWGA to consider measures or instruments needed to strengthen the protection of the rights of older persons.

  • The OEWGA strives to ensure that older persons are given space and weight in the human rights agenda by considering measures or instruments needed to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons.

  • Canada actively engages in the annual OEWGA sessions and its work. Canada served on the OEWGA Bureau for the 12th session, where Minister Khera delivered Canada’s national statement. 

  • On March 6, 2023, Minister Khera announced that Canada joined the United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing’s Informal cross-regional Core Group.

  • During the last Working Group session in April 2022, an informal, Argentina-led cross-regional Core Group was created. The main aim of the Core Group is to ensure the UN and its Member States continue to advance the human rights of older persons, including by considering the establishment of a process to identify and address possible gaps in the international human rights system for older persons. 

  • The Core Group currently has 16 members: Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. 

  • The March 6, 2023 announcement also supports Canada’s commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN with attention to progress on promoting and protecting human rights for everyone—including older persons. 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Alisson Lévesque
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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