Making Ryerson a School for All Ages

August 7, 2019

As our population ages, our public institutions, and approaches to health care, transportation, housing, and retirement savings will need to respond to a new demographic reality. The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) and Ryerson University are getting out ahead of this trend and leading institutions of higher education by becoming Toronto’s first and Canada’s largest Age-Friendly University.

Ryerson has grown together with the City of Toronto. As a leading urban-campus university that is celebrating its own 70th birthday this year and is seamlessly interwoven with the surrounding community, Ryerson takes pride in serving a diverse group of students, faculty, alumni and community members in downtown Toronto. As a rapidly ageing city, Toronto is undergoing a profound transformation to become more age-friendly as it now advances its Seniors Strategy as member of the WHO’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Ryerson is already working towards this goal by following universal design principles, offering seamless navigation and providing logical and convenient defined curbside access for accessible pick up and drop off around the campus. As being a place that is integrated into a broader age-friendly city and which already supports the learning of thousands of older adults, Ryerson is ensuring its physical spaces are welcoming and barrier-free to students and visitors of all ages.

But it’s not just physical spaces that Ryerson is making open to learners of all ages, but its programming as well.

Through Ryerson’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, the university delivers its Programs for 50+, offering unique non-credit program to stimulate the personal enrichment, self-actualization, and social connections among older adults in a community of like-minded individuals. The university has also built partnerships with the LIFE Institute, the largest membership-based learning organization in Canada, with over 2,000 active older members who self-curate and deliver high-quality educational programs for each other covering a wide variety of subjects in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and contemporary issues.

In addition to making learning opportunities available to older adults, Ryerson has also launched courses in ageing, including a Certificate in Aging and Gerontology, that is designed for professionals working with older adults, such as health and medical personnel, nutritionists, occupational therapists, social workers, family counsellors, recreation specialists, community workers, capacity assessors, administrators, urban planners, designers, personnel officers and volunteer workers. With this program, Ryerson is helping to build gerontological capacity among professionals who are becoming more likely to work with and impact older adults in their careers and projects. To support those increasingly interested in managerial careers related to supporting older adults, the university recently approved its first Masters of Health Administration (Community Care), a first-of-its-kind program in Canada that will support people looking for gerontology-related management courses.

And the NIA is the hub of ageing at Ryerson.

Reflecting Ryerson’s understanding that older adults are affected and impacted by policies that determine how services are delivered and how spaces are designed, it launched the NIA, Canada’s first policy research institute dedicated to considering ageing from both a health and financial perspective.

This year, we have really hit our stride and are leading the development of innovative policies to improve the lives of older Canadians. From publishing high-impact policy reports to influencing government policy and convening conferences to bring government, non-profit and private sector representatives together, it has been a watershed year. As a proud sponsor of the International Federation on Ageing’s 14th Global Conference on Ageing, Ryerson is thrilled that its campus has also been able to welcome over 1,000 delegates from around the world interested in advancing a global dialogue on ageing.

So, it’s fitting that in this year of accomplishments, the NIA worked with the President Lachemi for Ryerson to become a member of the Age-Friendly University Global Network, which provides greater public and institutional visibility to Ryerson’s community of older adults. As a member of this exciting global network, Ryerson will look forward to including older adults in the core of its campus life, and putting issues related to an ageing population at the centre of its research.

About the National Institute on Ageing (NIA)

The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) is a new policy and research centre based at Ryerson University in Toronto. The NIA is dedicated to enhancing successful ageing across the life course. It is unique in its mandate to consider ageing issues from a broad range of important perspectives, including those of financial, physical, psychological, and social wellness. The NIA is also focused on leading cross-disciplinary research to better understand the issues that can lead to the development of evidence-informed actionable insights that can meaningfully contribute towards shaping the innovative policies, practices and products that will be needed to address the multiple challenges and opportunities presented by Canada’s coming of age. The NIA is committed to providing national leadership and promoting a collaborative approach that also seeks to continually establish municipal, provincial, federal and global partnerships with other academic centres, and other ageing-related organizations.

To learn more about the NIA visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @RyersonNIA

For more information, contact Allan McKee, Communications Officer, the National Institute on Ageing |Phone: 416-586-4800 ext. 5845 | Email:

Allan McKee