The Birth of a National Voice for Seniors

NPF celebrated it’s 75th anniversary at it’s convention held in Mississauga, Ontario on September 10-12, 2019.

The 75th Anniversary Nathan Medd Honorary Trophy goes to the Saskatchewan Seniors Association Incorporated.

NATHAN WEDGEWOOD MEDD AWARD – The award is to be presented each year to a member of an affiliated seniors’ organization for outstanding work.

The award was presented to SASKATCHEWAN SENIORS ASSN INC.
accepted by Dwayne Turcotte, SSAI President
Presenters were:
Nathan Medd (Nathan W. Medd great grandson) & his dad,
John Medd, Qualicum Beach BC (Nathan W. Medd’s grandson),
Theresa Graf, Nanaimo BC (John’s sister),
Ellen Graf-Martin, Elmira ON, and
Great Grandchildren

Award Presenters: Nathan Medd, Theresa Graf, John Medd, Ellen Graf-Martin

The Medd Award is presented to the organization/individual who deserves recognition for Advocacy on behalf of Seniors.
In recognition of all the milestones achieved on behalf of seniors in Saskatchewan such as:

• Involved in discussions for Universal Medi-care.
• Improved Pensions.
• Continuation of spouses allowance in the event of a death.
• Home care.
• Persuading government to establish district home care boards.
• Improvements to housing that is aff ordable and suitable.
• Foot program.
• Wellness health programs.
• Restore fully taxable income to fully account for infl ation.
• Defeating multilateral agreement on invest-ments.
• Aff ordable rates for room and board in Sas-katchewan nursing homes.
• Promoting the twinning of more highways.
• Hold on raising rates on special care.
• Housing and reducing the education tax.

In the Beginning
One of the pioneers of the seniors’ movement in Saskatchewan was Anges Nurse. At age 92, in 1981, she recalled how her father used to spend his days in the old Empire Hotel in Sasktoon.

Everybody used to play cards there during the depression. Mrs. Nurse would drop in after work or at lunchtime to see how they were doing, and there she met Annie Douglas, mother of the future premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas. Mrs. Douglas was there playing cards with the men.

The Vision
Mrs. Douglas was one of the strong people who saw the real need for seniors to organize. Beginning in 1939, Annie Douglas became founding president of Pensioners and Pioneers Number One, the first seniors’ club in Saskatoon, and filled that position for 18 years.

She and Mrs. Nurse and an Empire Hotel card-game visitor, Nathan Medd worked together to create the Saskatchewan Old Age pensioners and Pioneers Organization(OAPO) in 1942.

The Provincial Organization
Mrs. Douglas was president of the provincial organization for 20 years.
When it began, the Provincial’s main objectives were to get an increase in the pension, and to eliminate the means tests. Like the OAPO and all subsequent federations, it was made up of representatives of the pensioners’ clubs from around the province.

Soon after its formation, 32 clubs had joined. Around 1954, the name “Old Age Pensioners Organization” was changed to “Pensioners and Senior citizens Organizations” (PSCO).

Annual conventions were held, to which the representatives brought resolutions.

Birth of NPF

After the Saskatchewan Federation had three successful years, Nathan Medd initiated the National Pensioners and Seniors Citizen’s Federation. To this day, Saskatchewan remains as the number one affiliate of the National.

Nathan Medd – Pioneer Pensioner Activist
Throughout his own lifetime, Mr. Medd, a native of Yorkshire, England, and a Saskatchewan pioneer, has been involved in most every aspect of community, provincial and national affairs.

Mr. Medd began his association with the pensioners of Saskatoon as a musician, and later was chosen to represent the elderly as the first president of the Saskatoon branch.

Mr. Medd explains the early foundations of the association as a lot of darn hard work, but pleasureable.

Independence and activity

He organized the first gathering of five provincial branches and those in Alberta and B.C. , and headed the committee which in1945 drafted the original constitution for the Old Age Pensioners, as they came to be known.

Mr. Medd went on to serve as president of the national organization and held the position for a total of 26 years, being replaced only five years ago (as of 1973).

Through it all he followed his own motto “keeping active is the best thing in life”. He drove over 25,000 miles per year to keep in touch with groups and prospective groups of senior citizens.

National Pensioners and Seniors Citizens Federation (NPSCF) –Lethbridge
He was accorded a great honor at this convention by being awarded the
Nathan Medd Honorary Trophy on September 26, 1973.
This award was given for the first time to the man who inspired its initiation through his efforts to further the pensioners’ cause.

Mr. Medd expressed his desire to have the trophy spread around to do good for the organication and to encourage individuals to get involved.

He thinks people should be made to become independent, to “learn to do things for themselves – not just sit around.” The health of senior citizens is of importance, he said. He hastens to add that active and interested minds are keys to keeping a person alive.