Our Story

Message by Liza Chan, Executive Director


Changes in 20 Years

CCECA’s 30th anniversary is a joyful time that calls for celebration.  All volunteers and staff of CCECA wish the association continued success in delivering more and better services to the citizens of Calgary.


I started working for the association twenty years ago.  Due to limited resources, we had only four to five staff members at the time and provided outreach services, social and recreation programs and senior service workshops to Chinese seniors in a small rented basement.  A significant breakthrough came at the end of 1995.  Under the leadership of Mr. Fei Hong Cheng, a group of enthusiastic volunteers worked together to build the present Seniors’ Centre in Chinatown.  The spacious self-financed centre not only enabled CCECA to accommodate more members but also provided us with a foundation to diversify and expand our services.  We are thankful for their tireless effort and forward thinking.


Over the past twenty years, the number of staff has increased to 25. Together, we have created more than 20 new programs and services. From single provider model to collaboration with over 30 agencies, we have delivered many new programs to benefit the Chinese population in Calgary.  In the area of outreach, our services have been extended to different neighbourhoods through 28 senior support groups, catering to seniors who are not able to access our office in Chinatown.  As well, the association organises on a regular basis workshops related to seniors’ daily living so as to ensure that seniors have a better understanding of relevant benefits and programs.  Besides, CCECA formally established The Way In network with three other senior-serving agencies to enhance service scope and quality.


In light of our continued focus on the health of seniors, CCECA has undertaken many partnership projects with the Alberta Health Services.  In the last ten years, we have been hosting the Living Well program for seniors, which is a one stop shop program that provides counselling by health professionals, together with regular health workshops and a weekly exercise program.  In addition, the Adult Day Support Program provides social and recreation services to seniors with special needs to add more color to their lives.  Further, the annual emotional health carnival was created in partnership with ten other agencies with the aim to help the Chinese population to recognize the importance of emotional health.  The Chinese Response to Family Violence is another inter-agency collaboration, created to provide support and assistance to victims of domestic abuse. As well, CCECA has implemented many initiatives to promote the awareness and prevention of elder abuse, such as a skit, DVD, workshop, radio show and the “Say No to Elder Abuse” booklet.  

In alignment with our concern about community affairs and the welfare of seniors, CCECA established a volunteer-run Civic Engagement Group several years ago to facilitate civic participation among seniors and promote interest in public affairs and policies.  We also joined force with other agencies to establish an “Immigrant Seniors Advocacy Committee” to effect positive social change.  Last year, we worked together to protest Calgary Transit’s proposal to discontinue the Senior Transit Pass Program.  We collected 2,300 signatures and accompanied the seniors to the City Council meetings to express their concerns and voice their opinions.  In the end, Calgary Transit’s proposal was revoked temporarily and the seniors were all greatly encouraged by this accomplishment.  

Over the past 20 years, the number of programs and services in CCECA has increased from 15 to 60, while the number of annual client contacts has risen from 36,000 to 125,000.  All of our programs and services aim at meeting the needs of seniors and enhancing their well-being and quality of life.  I would like to express my gratitude to all our past and present directors, advisors, volunteers and staff for their selfless contribution and hard work that helped to create our co-owned senior services to benefit the community.

Our Achievements in 33 Years   

- CCECA was founded with 124 members
- First issue of Seniors’ Garden newsletter was published in the Edmonton News, the communication tool between the association and  seniors



- Longevity Group was established to assist in funeral arrangement and collect condolence money to pay for the funeral



- Chinese Community Outreach for seniors was established for those who could not make it to Chinatown


- In collaboration with the Meals on Wheels, a Chinese meal delivery services was established to deliver hot Chinese meals to residents in Chinatown


- A committee was formed to build a Calgary Chinatown Seniors’ Centre.  It was incorporated as the Foundation for the Establishment of an Elderly Citizens’ Sports/Recreation Complex


- The Public Health Clinic began to give flu shots to the seniors


- Community Volunteer Income Tax Program provides free personal income   tax service for low income seniors\


- A self-financed Senior Centre was built strategically in the heart of Calgary’s Chinatown
- Chinese-speaking Wellness Centre was created to monitor the unique health needs of Chinese seniors
- Community support groups
, as part of the outreach services were established in different neighbourhoods to provide social network opportunities


- Screening Mammogram was provided in CCECA in partnership with Screen Test
- First Diabetes and Pre-natal Classes conducted in Chinese in CCECA


Steady As You Go was a fall prevention program that included lectures, group discussion, self assessment and exercise



- The Chinese Special Needs Support Group is a day program for Chinese seniors with disabilities and family caregivers were established. This was the birth of the first Chinese language day program in the city. 


The Caregiver Program for the Chinese Community in collaboration with Calgary Family Services, was to train a group of first language caregivers to serve Chinese-speaking clients. This unique program also benefited unemployed new immigrants to get into the care giving market,
with the on-going training and ESL classes
- Chopsticks-on-Wheels in partnership with Meals-on-Wheels, established a special menu to cater the cultural
                                       and food preferences of the Chinese people- Emotional Health Carnival partnered with 13 community 
                                       organizations to
 organise annual event to promote the importance of emotional health in the Chinese

                                       - Due to closure of the Chinatown laboratory services, a mobile laboratory was in place at our center to provide
                                       weekly laboratory service for senior
- Community Access Project (CAP) site was set up in our library to provide internet access for the public

- Volunteer Visiting Respite Program trained volunteers to provide temporary relief for Chinese family caregivers, who are caring for frail senior family members full


- In partnership with the Calgary Health Region, Chinese Living Well Program was established for people who suffer from chronic diseases such as Diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic lung problem.  The eight weeks program combined education session, three times a week exercise and “row your own boat” self-management class to assist clients to lead a quality life

  Volunteer Visiting Program for Seniors was introduced to target home and care-centre bound seniors to have a friendly visitor once a week
- Two Elder Abuse Skits were conducted in Cantonese and Mandarin to combat elder abuse and two DVDs were produced

In partnership with the City of Calgary Senior Service Division, the Low Income Seniors’ Home Safety Assessment Program trained a team of 12 volunteers and completed 80 walk through assessments on low income Chinese seniors’  primary residences


Chinese Community Response to Family Violence was established with six partners to provide direct support to victims and their family members of family violence
- Civic Engagement Group 
was formed to advocate for Chinese seniors and encourage them to speak out and participate in the society
- Hidden in the Cultural Fabric: Elder Abuse and Neglect in the Ethno-Cultural Communities in Alberta, was an initiative to identify and develop innovative resources/ tools to increase the knowledge of older adults in Alberta about what constitutes elder abuse and neglect.  Five language groups and five cities will be benefited from this project.  “Say No to Elder Abuse” booklet was produced in six languages.

- In partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital Reitman Centre in Toronto, we organized “CARERS” program to provide training for family caregivers who take care of demented family members


Provide instrumental support to Chinatown residents in Alberta Flood.  Staff were deployed to reception centre to provide interpretation, social and emotional support to Chinese Calgarians



Provide emergency preparedness workshops to Chinese senior residents in Chinatown to prepare them for future disaster.


Organise First Walkathon to raise fund and promote healthy living for seniors



- Opening of the Fitness Center
- CARF International awarded us a Three-Year Accreditation to The Way In outreach service and Adult Day Program 
- Receive the Minister’s Seniors Service Award from the Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing that we have made a difference in the lives of seniors and their community
                                        - Executive Director, Liza Chan, was selected by YWCA as one of the 150 women who have made a significant
                                        impact in Calgary