Our Government’s Record on Seniors
Ottawa Journal (January 23 – January 27, 2021)
David Tilson, MP
Canada’s seniors have shaped our country and continue to play a significant role in building a stronger Canada. They also represent a diverse and growing population and our Government has continued to work with partners across all levels of government, the voluntary and not-for-profit sector, as well as with members of the National Seniors Council, to advance awareness, understanding and support of our seniors’ current and evolving needs. Since 2006, we’ve worked hard to help improve the lives of seniors on many fronts from increased funding to senior programs to establishing October 1st as National Seniors Day.
Our Government has remained committed to helping to increase the financial well-being of Canada’s seniors. This is why in Budget 2011: Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan we enhanced the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to help Canada's most vulnerable seniors who rely almost exclusively on their Old Age Security (OAS) pension, GIS, the Allowance (ALW), or the Allowance for the Survivor (ALWS) to make ends meet. The increase came into effect on July 1, 2011, allowing eligible seniors to receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. This provides increased financial security for the most vulnerable seniors in Canada, representing an investment of more than $300 million per year and assistance to more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.
In addition to the additional support our Government has provided to GIS, our Government provided Canadians with close to $72 billion in 2011 through Canada’s public pension system. Furthermore, we are providing $2.3 billion annually in additional tax relief to seniors and pensioners through measures, such as pension-income splitting and increasing the age credit.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program has supported many projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in their community. In Budget 2011, our Government made enhancements to the program by providing $10 million over two years. The support will further the program’s objectives by funding a greater number of projects to help seniors use their leadership, energy, and skills to benefit communities across Canada.
Our Government has also supported positive and active aging through the collaborative Age-Friendly Communities Initiative, Physical Activity Tips for Older Adults, and falls-prevention initiatives. We appointed a Minister of State for Seniors, to ensure the concerns of seniors are brought to the Cabinet table and to stand up on their behalf. We also established October 1st as National Seniors Day to recognize the significant and ongoing contributions Canada’s seniors make to families, communities, workplaces, and society.
In 2007, our Government created the National Seniors Council, to provide advice to the federal government on matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors. We also provided $13 million over three years in Budget 2008 to help seniors and others recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and to provide information on available support.
These are just a few of the many things our Government has done to improve the lives of seniors on various fronts. Last May, our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to improve seniors' quality of life. This is why we’re working hard to ensure that our policies, programs, and services continue to provide opportunities for seniors to improve their well-being and quality of life.