OTTAWA, April 19, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to help improve the quality of life for seniors through new investments announced in Budget 2016.
Budget 2016 makes the goal of a comfortable and dignified retirement more attainable for seniors and working Canadians through various measures, such as restoring the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 67 to 65. This change will put up to $17,000 into the pockets of the lowest income Canadians each year, as they become seniors.
Restoring the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the GIS from 67 to 65 is only one of the many enhancements announced that will help improve the quality of life for seniors. Additional measures include:
- increasing the GIS top-up by $947 annually for the most vulnerable single seniors;
- providing higher benefits to senior couples receiving GIS and Allowance benefits and who are living apart for reasons beyond their control;
- enhancing the Canada Pension Plan based on consultations with provinces, territories and Canadians, with the goal of being able to make a collective decision before the end of 2016;
- looking at how a new Seniors Price Index that reflects the cost of living faced by seniors could be developed; and
- providing for the construction, repair and adaption of affordable housing to help the many seniors who face challenges in accessing affordable housing.
"Our government is working hard to grow the bottom line for the increasing number of Canadians who need our support. Public pensions are an important part of the retirement income of Canadians, particularly for lower-income single seniors who face a much higher risk of living in poverty. Budget 2016 reaffirms our commitment to strengthening public pensions and improving the quality of life for seniors. Everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect—especially our seniors."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
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On March 22, 2016, Budget 2016 announced important changes to address the needs of vulnerable low-income seniors, including:
Restoring the age of eligibility for Old Age Security
In 2012, the Old Age Security Act was amended to gradually increase the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 65 to 67 over six years. The changes were scheduled to start in April 2023 with full implementation by January 2029. Budget 2016 announced the intent to restore the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and GIS from 67 to 65 and Allowance benefits from 62 to 60.
This change will put up to $17,000 into the pockets of the lowest income Canadians each year, as they become seniors.
Increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single seniors
The GIS will be increased by up to $947 annually for single seniors with the lowest incomes, starting in July 2016.
This will support seniors who rely almost exclusively on OAS and GIS benefits and may therefore be at risk of experiencing financial difficulties. This measure will improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.
Increasing benefits for couples living apart for reasons beyond their control
Amendments to the Old Age Security Act will be introduced to ensure that couples who receive GIS and Allowance benefits and have to live apart for reasons beyond their control (such as a requirement for long-term care) will receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes, not their combined incomes.
Exploring a new Seniors Price Index
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that OAS and GIS benefits keep pace with the actual costs of living faced by seniors. The Government is therefore looking at how a new Seniors Price Index that reflects the cost of living faced by seniors could be developed.
Introducing a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit
The Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors and persons with disabilities will help with the costs of ensuring their homes remain safe, secure and accessible.
Enhancing the Canada Pension Plan
To help improve the retirement income security of working Canadians, the Government has begun discussions with provinces and territories to enhance the Canada Pension Plan with the goal to make a collective decision before the end of 2016. In the coming months, the Government will launch consultations to give Canadians an opportunity to share their views on enhancing the Canada Pension Plan.
Supporting affordable housing for seniors
The Government will support the construction, repair, and adaption of affordable housing for seniors through an investment of$200.7 million over two years starting in 2016-17 to help the many seniors facing challenges in accessing affordable housing.
In addition, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been mandated to:
- lead the development of a Canadian poverty reduction strategy that would set targets to reduce poverty and measure and publicly report on the Government's progress.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
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