About the Conference

The objective of the conference is to provide information that will enable our society to bounce back from the adversities that have been faced over recent years by taking advantage of what we have learned and applying this knowledge to enhance the lives of older people, especially those who have faced ageism, marginalization, and social isolation.

Continuing Education Credits

A Certificate of Attendance, indicating that the Friesen Conference is a 15-hour educational offering specific to the needs of older adults, will be available for Social Workers to put towards their continued professional development and for Registered Nurses wanting documentation to support their provincial/state continuing competency requirement. To obtain your certificate, e-mail within 30 days of the end of the conference.       

Organizing Committee

  • Andrew Wister | Director, SFU-GRC & Professor, Department of Gerontology (Conference Chair)
  • Habib Chaudhury | Associate Director, SFU-GRC & Professor and Chair, Department of Gerontology
  • Gloria Gutman | Research Associate, SFU-GRC & Professor Emeritus, SFU Department of Gerontology (Conference Co-Chair & Manager)
  • Laura Kadowaki | Program & Operations Coordinator, United Way British Columbia
  • Sarah Qiu | Communications Coordinator, Alumni Outreach & Community


Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard

Dr. Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard is a registered nurse, professor at the School of Nursing at the Université de Moncton where she holds a Research Chair in Population Aging and is the Director of the Centre on Aging. Her program of research focuses on the multiple dimensions of aging in place as well as issues related to aging in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMC). She is the innovator behind Nursing Home Without Walls, a provincial program to support aging in place, which was recognized by the United Nations Healthy Ageing 50 initiative. She is the past chairperson of the National Seniors Council (federal government), past President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology and co-led the development of the New Brunswick strategy on aging.

Presentation Title: Rx Building Community: Approach for Aging in Place

Public Lecture

Dan Levitt | Seniors' Advocate of B.C.

Dan Levitt is an acclaimed international speaker, elder care leader, writer, and gerontologist, specializing in helping others to create better lives for seniors. Dan’s purpose is to teach people how to transform the lives of older adults across the globe. As a popular professional speaker, he has delivered inspiring keynote speeches impacting thousands of people on five continents. Dan doesn’t tell people where to go but guides them in the direction of where they need to go. His talks leave the audience with a new mindset on aging needed to thrive in the 21st century.

On March 18, 2024 Dan will became B.C.’s second Senior Advocate. The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the B.C. provincial government acting in the interest of seniors and their caregivers. Prior to this role as the Chief Executive Officer of Kin Village, Dan Levitt shepherded the enhancement of housing, social, and care needs for more than 300 older persons living onsite and thousands of community members with community based programs, inspiring a team of over 400 employees and volunteers with a commitment to continuously improving the quality of life.

Dan is an Adjunct Professor in Gerontology at Simon Fraser University an Adjunct Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, and previously a Sessional Instructor, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Board Member with CommonAge and the International Federation on Ageing and a Surveyor with Accreditation Canada.

Presentation Title: The Future of Ageing in British Columbia

Pre, Post and Concurrent Conference Events

May 23-24, 2024

31st John K. Friesen Conference, Segal Centre, SFU Harbour Centre Campus, Vancouver, BC. Theme "Community Care and Supports for Older Adults: Inclusion, Innovation & Integration" (

May 26-28, 2024

BC Care Providers Association 47th Annual Conference, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler, BC. Theme "Come Together” (

May 31 - June 1, 2024

Providence Health Care West Coast Conference on Aging, Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver, BC. Theme "Equity Influencers: Transforming Health Care for Aging Populations" (