More than 28% of the population of Cortes and Quadra Islands are seniors. The Federal budget has provisions for the estimated 3.3 million Canadian seniors aged 75 years and older, but nothing for those between 65-74. Rachel Blaney, the MP for North Island – Powell River, asks what are we going to do for the forgotten seniors?
Increasing Old Age Security benefits for seniors age 75 and older
The budget outlines the provisions for seniors 75 and older:
- Budget 2021 proposes to meet the immediate needs of this group of seniors by providing a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to OAS pensioners who will be 75 or over as of June 2022.
- Budget 2021 then proposes to introduce legislation to increase regular OAS payments for pensioners 75 and over by 10 per cent on an ongoing basis as of July 2022. This would increase the benefits for approximately 3.3 million seniors, providing additional benefits of $766 to full pensioners in the first year, and indexed to inflation going forward. This would give seniors more financial security later in life, particularly at the time when they face increased care expenses and greater risk of running out of savings.”
“In total, these two measures represent $12 billion over five years in additional financial support, beginning in 2021-22, and at least $3 billion per year ongoing, to be delivered by Employment and Social Development Canada.” – The Federal Budget
Rachel Blaney is 100% behind the government’s decision to support seniors 75 and older.
The forgotten seniors
“The problem I have is it seems to say that all seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 are doing great and they have options. They can go to work for a while longer, if that is what they want, and it is all good,” said Blaney.
There are a lot of seniors who are doing well, she admits. Some of told her they do not need the extra money.
“I understand that, but the seniors who need it – need it desperately. One of the things I was disappointed about, is I didn’t see an increase in the guaranteed income supplement. That is a round of money that goes to the most low income seniors across this country,” said Blaney.
She insists that a couple of hundred dollars a month extra would make a difference.
“That would change lives and allow seniors to live healthier, happier and more content.”
Blaney adds, “I keep telling the government, when we are looking at great solutions we shouldn’t just take the simplest and easiest thing that makes us feel better. We need to look at the complexity of the issue and make sure no one is left behind. And I feel in this budget, the most vulnerable seniors in Canada were left behind.”
Links of Interest
- (Gov of Canada) Canada’s Budget for 2021-2022- Chapter 7: A More Equal Canada
- (Gov of Canada) Guaranteed Income Supplement: Overview
- (National Seniors Strategy) Ensure that older Canadians do not live in Poverty by improving their income security
- (Conference Board of Canada) Elderly Poverty
- (SRD) Cortes Island Community Profile
- (SRD) Quadra Island Community profile
- (Cortes Currents) articles about seniors
Top photo credit: the beauty of an old man’s trail by Rey Perezoso via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
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