Here’s what major federal parties promise seniors
When Albert Smith, 68, goes to the grocery store to buy vegetables, it is directly in the frozen section.
“We can’t have fresh produce, it’s too expensive,” he said.
The Saskatchewan man said his rent and bills were paid monthly with help from Old Age Security, but little was left after that.
“You stay home and don’t do anything because you don’t have the money to do anything. So it’s not a decent life.”
Across the country in Shelbourne, Nova Scotia, Jacqueline Goldsmith is monitoring reports of Tropical Storm Henri, which could hit the province next week.
With little money at the end of the month, she worries about what will happen if another storm hits her home – she already dipped into her RRIF in 2019 when Hurricane Dorian hit her home.
“I pay for everything and there is nothing left,” she said. “I’m doing my best, but it’s hard. It’s getting harder and harder.
At 73, she says she feels abandoned by the Liberals’ proposed boost to old age security, which only applies to those 75 and over.
“In 2021, my property tax increased, my home insurance increased, my TV, my electricity, my food, all that increased. And because I am 73 years old and not 75, I do not receive any help”, a he added. she said.
“I found that a real slap in the face.”
Goldsmith and Smith are waiting to learn more about what federal parties promise seniors.
From the start, most parties made pledges to help the elderly, focusing largely on addressing the vulnerabilities exposed in long-term care homes by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bill VanGorder, chief operating officer of the elderly advocacy group CARP, said it was an important issue, but the main concern he hears from members is financial security.
I pay for everything and there is nothing left.– Jacqueline Goldsmith Senior
“This is the first election where I have seen all the major parties seem to be saying that the issues of concern to older Canadians are high on their lists,” he said.
But “all parties must better understand what are the real issues facing seniors.”
What the parties promise older people so far
- The Liberals have yet to release their full campaign platform, but Leader Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that a re-elected Liberal government will spend $ 9 billion to tackle Canada’s long-term care sector.
- This includes a pledge to work with provinces and territories to increase wages for personal support workers, including a guaranteed minimum wage of at least $ 25 an hour.
- The party also plans to double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit – intended to make homes more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities – to provide up to an additional $ 1,500.
- Budget 2021 included a one-time payment of $ 500 from Old Age Security that landed in the bank accounts of retirees 75 and over this week.
- If re-elected, they also pledged to increase the OAS pension by 10 percent for those 75 and over, starting next year.
- Party promises to double the Canada Workers Benefit to a maximum of $ 2,800 for individuals or $ 5,000 for families and to pay it in the form of quarterly direct deposit rather than a tax refund at the end of the year. The party said it would give older people who choose to continue working after retirement a higher income.
- A Conservative government has said it will change legislation to ensure retirees get priority over executives if a company goes bankrupt or restructures.
- To keep seniors in their homes, the party said it would increase the home accessibility tax credit limit from $ 10,000 per unit to $ 10,000 per person.
- It would also allow seniors or their caregivers, including their children, to claim the home care medical expense tax credit instead of allowing them to claim attendant care only if they live in a nursing home. group.
- To avoid long-term care homes, the Conservatives are also promising to help those who care for their parents by introducing the Canada Seniors Benefit, $ 200 per month per household to any Canadian who lives with a parent and child. ‘occupies it during the age of 70 years.
- The NDP’s commitments, released ahead of the official launch of the campaign, include a National Seniors Strategy to work with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities on isolation and poverty among seniors.
- He also promises to create a pension advisory commission to develop a long-term plan to improve old age security.
- An NDP government would also increase the guaranteed income supplement and strengthen the Canada pension plan. The GIS is a monthly payment for seniors with incomes below $ 18,984.
- They also committed to making automatic enrollment in the OAS and GIS programs retroactive.
- The party said its universal drug benefit promise will also improve the lives of seniors.
- The Green Party has yet to release its 2021 election platform, but a spokesperson said it would develop a national seniors strategy “to create an organized and concerted focus on the well-being of seniors in all areas throughout the aging experience with consistent standards across the country. “
- They would also seek to include long-term care homes in the Canada Health Act and establish national standards.
- This spring, the Bloc Québécois tabled a motion asking the government to include an increase of $ 110 per month to old age security benefits in its April 22 budget.
- He also says that the federal government should introduce automatic enrollment in the Guaranteed Income Supplement and tax credits for those who wish to continue working in Quebec.
Reviews so far
VanGorder said he would have liked the increase in OAS to extend to all beneficiaries, not just those 75 and over.
Alex Laurin, research director at the CD Howe Institute, questioned the benefit of expanding a universal program like OAS rather than creating targeted programs for seniors living below the poverty line.
“There is a boon for people on OAS who don’t really need it, and it adds to the cost,” he said.
“Those who pay for this will be future taxpayers, because no political party has promised to balance the budget for a very long time. So all of these increases would be paid for by debt.”
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VanGorder said protecting retirement plans and home care is also a priority for many elderly voters.
But he doesn’t hold his breath.
“More and more, frankly, our members are less and less interested in what they hear leaders say in their platforms, because their perception is that they are not following up on action,” he said. -he declares.
“Older Canadians are really going to have their feet on the fire when it comes to following through on all the promises they make.