(Published in the December 5th, 2018 edition of The Lance)
Seniors are a growing part of Canada’s population – today they make up 17% of the population and we expect seniors represent 25% of the population by 2036. Making sure that seniors can have a secure and dignified retirement is important.
This summer, our government reinforced its commitment to seniors and the issues important to them by naming Filomena Tassi as the first full Minister of Seniors Canada has ever had. Minister Tassi will make sure we place a seniors lens on policies as they are developed, and will be a strong voice for seniors around the Cabinet table. To that end, ever since her appointment, she has been travelling across the country listening to seniors, their families, and organizations that work hard with and for seniors.
On November 12, Minister Tassi visited the Seine River Retirement Residence in our riding. She and I met with residents to learn from their lived experience, and to get their input on best practices. We heard a lot about income security, housing security and healthcare.
Income security is the foundation of a secure retirement. Our government has taken a number of concrete steps to strengthen that foundation with changes to the Old Age Security (OAS), the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
We have rolled back the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS from 67 to 65. We have started auto-enrollment for GIS and we have increased the GIS. We also combined the OAS and GIS application into one application, resulting in less paperwork, and more peace of mind.
We collaborated with provinces, and have increased the CPP so it will gradually reach 33% of insured earnings, ensuring that the CPP remains the basis of a secure retirement for all Canadians in the future.
We understand that staying in their own community surrounded by family and friends helps seniors stay healthier and happier. That is why our government introduced the first federal National Housing Strategy, which has a special focus on seniors’ housing projects. We also invested $6 billion in palliative care and home care. These are significant investments that will help seniors stay in their communities.
The New Horizons for Seniors program has made some important investments aimed at increasing social inclusion of seniors in our riding, including investments at the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre, Archwood 55+, Meadowood Manor and the Accueil francophone.
Our families and communities know that our seniors have a lot to offer, and everybody benefits when seniors can fully participate in society. Our government has accomplished a lot for seniors, and we will continue building on this work to ensure our seniors are active and engaged members of their communities and are provided a future to which they can look forward.