May 13th, 2021
Statement from MP Heather McPherson
Federal NDP call for support for all seniors
Many seniors were left out of the federal budget tabled last month prompting the NDP to call for changes to the Liberal government’s plans on seniors’ benefits.
“Canada’s seniors have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Now more than ever they need help and respect from their government,” said MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona). “Instead, the government’s new plans for seniors, announced in last month’s budget, will only apply to those 75 and older, creating a second class of senior Canadians. This is simply wrong.”
In the last election, the federal Liberals promised an increase to the Old Age Security (OAS) benefit, a recognition of the growing number of seniors living in poverty. Experts estimate that one in eight seniors live below the poverty line in Canada. The government finally announced their intended changes to OAS benefits in Budget 2021 and Bill C-30 last month, but with a catch — the changes they propose won’t apply to all seniors. Those who qualify for OAS will receive a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021, but only if they will be 75 or over as of June 2022. And, starting in July of 2022, the OAS benefit will increase by 10% going forward, but again, only for those who are 75 or older.
For over a year, New Democrats have requested that all seniors receive additional financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government has refused.
“This government is creating a system of “junior seniors” and “senior seniors”. This is absolutely ridiculous and leaves thousands of people who need help behind,” said NDP’s Critic for Seniors, MP Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain). “We call on this government to end this two-tier system and give this increase to all seniors; 65 and older.”
Ironically, the government’s new two-tiered senior system is announced in their budget under the heading ‘An Economic Recovery that Includes Everyone’.
“Seniors deserve a government that is ready to support all of them, not one that picks and chooses winners and losers,” added McPherson. “New Democrats will fight this new system and for all seniors to be included in any OAS increase, and to stop this two-tier nonsense.”