By Deb Schulte, Canada’s Minister of Seniors
The COVID-19 pandemic taken a toll on seniors’ finances, mental health and social networks. As they are staying safe by staying home, seniors are facing rising food and prescription drug costs, and having to spend more of their income on delivery and transportation fees. Many are feeling the effects of isolation. This is why the Government of Canada is taking meaningful action to support seniors across the country.
We are putting new supports in place. The Government of Canada will provide a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors who are eligible for Old Age Security. Seniors who qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. That means that low-income senior couples will receive $1000 more in support.
This $2.5 billion investment provides 6.7 million seniors across the country with direct financial support to help them cope with the increased costs of COVID-19.
This builds on the action taken early in the pandemic. In March, the federal government committed more than $1.3 billion to low- and middle-income seniors with a one-time tax-free GST Credit payment worth an average of $375 for singles and $510 for couples. Additionally, we invested half a billion dollars through the United Way, local charities and food banks, so that seniors and other vulnerable Canadians can get support, such as the delivery of groceries and medication.
To reduce isolation, we invested an additional $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This will help local seniors’ groups provide programing and services to seniors coping with the pandemic. This can include seniors’ groups that provide culturally appropriate services for seniors.
These measures will help ease the hardships that seniors are facing, but we recognize that there is always more that can be done.
Seniors built this great country, they were the ones who raised us and cared for us, and now we will do all that we can to care for them.