Caring for Seniors
March 15, 2018
The quality of life we all enjoy is due to the hard work and dedication to building a better society by successive generations of Canadians. No group understands this better than Canada’s seniors. The Government of Canada and I are incredible grateful for the lifelong contributions Canadian seniors have made to build the inclusive, prosperous, and diverse nation we know today. The main intention guiding our work is that all seniors deserve a secure, stable, and dignified retirement after a lifetime of work.
Recently, I have been asked by community members what initiatives and programs have been brought forward to help seniors since the last election. These inquiries have promoted me to look into our work in this area. It is important to note that funding moves from the federal government to the provinces and even through municipalities when it comes to housing approvals and health care service delivery. Notable federal initiatives to help Canadian seniors:
- $11 billion investment over 10 years in homecare and mental health to ensure that seniors can stay in their homes longer and are provided the unique care they deserve.
- The new Canada Caregiver Credit to make it easier for Canadians to take time off work to care for a sick or elderly relative.
- Restored the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) to 65 after the previous government’s decision to raise it to 67. Without those changes, our vulnerable seniors would have faced a much higher risk of living in poverty. This change has helped 19,350 seniors in Guelph who received OAS payments averaging $6,740 in 2017.
- The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) top-up. Seniors who live alone will receive an extra $947 per year through GIS, helping 900,000 vulnerable seniors across Canada, of which 70% are women. 4,520 Guelph seniors have received GIS payments averaging $5,460.
- Enhancing the Canada Pension Plan starting in 2019 that will provide more money for Canadians when they retire. This translates into an increase in the current maximum retirement benefit of more than $7,000, from $13,610 to nearly $21,000 in today’s dollar terms
- The National Housing Strategy, which will remove 530,000 Canadians from housing need and create 100,000 new housing units, including 12,000 units dedicated to seniors, over the next 10 years.
- Establish the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. This body will report to the federal Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance after conducting an economic and social assessment of domestic and international models, and will recommend options on how to move forward.
- Budget 2018 proposes to provide $20 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $4 million per year ongoing, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support community-based projects that address the challenges of dementia.
- National Seniors Strategy parliamentary study. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities is currently undertaking a study with a view towards the creation of this strategy.
The guaranteed income supplement is already in place, with changes to the CPP coming next year. Home care and housing are areas I am currently working on with Guelph providers and with City Hall. I am also continuing to meet with seniors associations and residences to hear from them what also needs to be done.
I am confident that these programs will make a meaningful impact to improve the life of seniors. As always I appreciate and value your opinion on how to improve our current approach. Please do keep in touch.