Together, we can make Canada a great place
to age for us all

Welcome Letters

Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer

A message from Marissa Lennox,
Chief Policy Officer

CARP has an impressive track record of success standing up for our seniors. Our report card of recent wins includes securing a promise from the federal government to increase the OAS and CPP survivor benefit, increases of (and removing barriers) to GIS, pressuring governments to cover extra prescription fees for seniors during COVID-19 and expanding coverage for publicly-funded vaccines for older adults.

We’re also fighting hard to protect vulnerable seniors in long-term care with incredible urgency, making our Members’ voices heard loudly and clearly—urgent action is needed now to safeguard residents in institutions while creating the necessary supports to empower seniors to age in place at home, where they want to be.

We’re very proud of all we’ve accomplished, and we couldn’t do any of this without you.

Our Chapters are the most powerful tool of change in our advocacy arsenal, and we rely on you to bring our collective efforts to fruition in your communities. We hope this resource will make it easier to do so.

Change comes quickly in our line of work, and adapting to it is critical to success. This is true in our personal lives as well!

As most of you know, I am leaving on maternity leave in August. Filling my shoes will be Bill VanGorder—a man who needs no introduction to our Chapters. I’m excited to share in your successes over the next year with him and our CARP National Team, and I look forward to speaking with all of you soon. I leave you in very strong hands.

Yours Sincerely,


A message from Bill VanGorder,
Chief Policy Officer (
Pro Term)

I’ll keep this brief, as I expect to be speaking at length with all of you soon, as I make a (hopefully) graceful leap onto the speeding train that is the CARP National team! Thank you to all of you for your support so far—this is truly an incredible group of people and I look forward to what comes next.

To our Chapters—my tenure at CARP is long, but these are uncharted waters for me. I am extremely fortunate to be working with such a devoted and passionate network of advocates across the country. I know we will do great things together this year.

Here’s to a better future for every Canadian, regardless of age, race, gender, economic and family situation, sexual orientation and every other facet of the lived experiences that make every one of us unique and deserving of dignity.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have during my transition into Chief Policy Officer pro tem, and I promise to do the same with you.

All the best,

Bill VanGorder

How to use this resource

Launching an advocacy campaign is a lot of work, and it can be overwhelming.

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

While it might look like there’s a ton of content to wade through here, we promise it’s not as bad as it looks. We’ve done our best to break down all of the steps into manageable pieces, allowing you to take a methodical approach to your work, while indicating where CARP National can support you along the way.

We also know advocacy isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour. You know what’s best for your Chapter—feel free to adjust this plan to meet the unique needs of your communities.

You’ll see that we’ve broken down a successful campaign into 10 simple steps. Give them a quick read through now and revisit them often as you plan and roll out your work. Following this roadmap will ensure you stay on track.

One of the most important things to remember from the get-go is that sending a few letters is never enough to drive real change. A great campaign is multifaceted, using a mix of tactics to be seen by the right pairs of eyes and inspire action.

Think carefully about the politicians, bureaucrats, policy advisors and others who will influence decisions, and make sure you approach all of them in the most appropriate way. Here are some good protocols to follow when communicating with your provincial leaders. Premiers and Ministers should be sent a hard copy letter followed up with an email of the letter, which is cc’d (copied) to all the other key influencers you’ve identified. Faxing the letter can also be surprisingly effective. In our experience, hard copy letters and faxes get read more frequently than emails, which are often caught in junk filters or simply counted and filed away.

It is also critical that your members contact their local MPP, MHA or MLA and speak with them directly, drawing from a consistent set of “key messages” or speaking points. After all, it’s easier to ignore a letter than it is to ignore a person speaking directly to you!

Remember that CARP National is here to help every step of the way. Our small-but-mighty team at head office, together with all of you, are like one big family—and families stick together!

10 Steps to Successful Advocacy

Click the sections below to learn more about each step


Get off on the Right Foot