Helps navigate government program labyrinth
By Geneviève April
Finding specific information on any given government program, federal, provincial, municipal or community, can be difficult. If you are not comfortable using the Internet to do so, it becomes an even greater challenge. But if you are an English senior in Laval looking for answers on government programs and services without using a computer, it’s a nightmare.
That is where the Senior Information Centre (Carrefour d’information pour aînés–CIA) comes in handy. Although most government programs aimed at seniors have websites that list their services and eligibility criteria, it quickly became clear to the programs’ administrators that their target clientele were not using that resource.
“Either because they are not comfortable with a computer, or because they are simply unaware of which program they should look for, seniors—and their families—shunned the web-based information banks,” said Laval CIA administrator Sandra Gagnon.
Her mandate is to help seniors and their caregivers to navigate the labyrinthine map of available government services, fill out forms and requests and provide much-needed insight as to what each person is entitled to. Be it tax rules, financial aid programs, home-care help, health and social services, caregiver respite or senior residence availability, the Laval CIA has the answers.
Laval CIA offices are located in the Laval Seniors Activity Committee (Comité d’animation du troisième âge de Laval–CATAL) leisure centre. CATAL offers activities in French to Laval’s senior residents. Although CATAL activities are not available in English, Gagnon indicated that CIA services are available to all Laval senior citizens both in French and in English.
“We do offer our services to the English population. The only language difficulty that people who contact us might face is getting through the reception desk, where there might not be anyone to answer in English,” specified Gagnon.
Services are offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, by appointment. People who wish to contact Laval CIA can do so by phone at  622-1228 or by e-mail email@example.com