Beat Bureaucracy


Resources in Vancouver for seniors

Step 1  Find out what programs can help you

  • Information Services Vancouver   Dial 211
  • 411 Seniors Centre  604-684-8171                                                          
  • Health and Seniors Information Line (B.C. government) 1-800-465-4911
  • BC Seniors Guide
  • Health Information & Referral Centre  604-267-2692
  • Ask for a list of programs you may be eligible for. Let them know if you need help with something specific like housing or financial assistance.

Step 2  Apply for the programs

Fill out all of the forms and provide all of the information requested. If you aren't sure what the bureaucracy is asking you to do, call and ask them to help you understand. Don't send in incomplete applications--that will only delay the process of deciding whether you will receive assistance.

 If your application is declined and you feel your request is valid....


Step 3  Find an advocate to help you

If the service you want is from the federal government, call your Member of Parliament (MP). For the name and phone number of your MP, call 1-800-622-6232.

►If the service you want is from the provincial (BC) government, call your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). For the name and number of your MLA, call 604-660-2421.

►If the service you want is within Vancouver, call 211 and speak to a City Counsellor.

►Legal advocacy and information: see the bottom section of this web page.

►Housing: Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre 604-255-0546

►Family members, doctors, and staff and volunteers in seniors programs can advocate for you.

Work with your advocate.  Together you will need to:

  • Find out who's in charge.  You or your advocate should ask to speak with a supervisor. Supervisors have the authority to interpret the bureaucracy's rules and find in your favour.
  • Be persuasive  Explain in detail why you should receive assistance. Begin by phone, but always put your appeal in writing. Attach evidence—bureaucracies run on paper.
  • Be persistent Don’t give up because you’re tired or frustrated—if you need the service, keep trying. Let your advocate help. If there is an official appeal process, use it.

Programs and services for seniors

This list, last updated in February 2014, provides examples of the wide range of services available. Be aware that programs and contact information change. For an up-to-date list with current contact information, get in touch with the organizations listed above under "Step 1: Find out what programs can help you."

Medical, drug and nutrition information

Dial 811 to speak to a nurse, pharmacist or nutritionist.

Health Information & Resource Centre  604-267-2692


Financial assistance

Canada Pension Plan   Service Canada

Old Age Security   Service Canada

Guaranteed Income Supplement   Service Canada

Federal tax deductions and credits  Canada Revenue Agency

Seniors Supplement   B.C. government 
1-866-866-0800 (press 4, then press 1)

Subsidized housing
   B.C. Housing


Seniors housing  B.C. government  pages 55-71

SAFER  B.C. government
Rental assistance for people over 60 

Seniors transportation  B.C. government  pages 72-85

Municipal property tax deduction and payment deferral  (for homeowners) 
Contact your municipality or call 1-888-355-2700

The PharmaCare program helps eligible British Columbia residents with the expense of eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies.

Home support  Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport

Reduction of car license fee  Insurance Bureau of British Columbia
Call an ICBC agent.

Taxi Saver coupons 

Frugal Living website
Articles about living on one income

Organizations that provide many different services

411 Seniors Centre
604-684-8171   411 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver
Provides free medical and dental screening; low-cost food, clothing and activities; free income tax and will preparation 


604-684-1628  28 West Pender Street and various other locations
Adult day care, health care services, meals on wheels, peer support groups, cultural and recreational activities 

Vancouver Parks and Recreation 
"Arts, Health and Seniors Project" (visual arts, writing, performance, story telling) 604-718-5857

Group activities

Your local Vancouver Neighbourhood House
Seniors programs are available at the South Vancouver, Kiwassa, Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Houses

Vancouver Second Mile Society
509 East Hastings St.   
Drop-in centre--games, activities, information sessions

South Granville Seniors Friendship Centre Society
604-732-0812 1420 12th Ave W    
A wide range of activities including clubs, exercise and activities

Renfrew/Collingwood Seniors Society
604-430-1441   2970 East 22nd Ave
A wide range of activities including arts and crafts, outings and exercise

Legal services and information

BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support
Information about fraud and abuse prevention, power of attorney, residential tenancy and other legal issues, and help in accessing government services

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre

604-408-7414  411 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6B 1X4
Advises on Representation Agreements, legal plans that state who you give authority to if you need assistance managing your affairs. A Representation Agreement can cover financial and legal matters and health and personal care matters.

This resource list is provided by Beat Bureaucracy, which provides strategic advice to people facing bureaucratic obstacles. Email:  Website: