Nova Scotia seniors benefit from federal budget, says CARP

Below is an article posted by CBC News Nova Scotia on April 22, 2015. Click here to read the article.

Several political analysts are calling seniors the real winners in Tuesday’s federal budget announcement. For the most part, Bill VanGorder, the chair of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons in Nova Scotia, agrees.

VanGorder was watching the federal budget coverage with a close eye Tuesday night, looking for anything that could impact seniors. He says he’s generally happy with the budget.

“There’s some little pieces of good news and no really bad news, so as budgets go, not bad,” said VanGorder.

The budget pledged to let seniors leave more money in their tax-sheltered Registered Retirement Income Funds to help their savings last longer.

It also promised to introduce a new home accessibility tax credit to help seniors with the renovation costs of making their homes more accessible.

VanGorder says the addition of this credit acknowledges it is critical to keep seniors in their homes.

“In Nova Scotia, that’s so important to us with the lack of beds and hospitals and seniors residences,” he said.

“Anything that can support people staying in their homes longer is certainly welcome to Nova Scotians.”

The budget also earmarked $42 million over the next five years for the creation of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.

VanGorder was particularly surprised and excited about the budget’s proposed change to employment insurance benefits. It promises to extend benefits to those caring for a sick or dying relative from the current six weeks to six months.

“You know, that’s a big change,” he said Tuesday.

“From six weeks to six months is really something that we’ve been looking for and have needed for some time.”

VanGorder thinks there were a number of issues that weren’t addressed in the budget. He says these issues need to include help for older workers to keep their jobs, a new universal pension plan and particularly, a national pharmacare program.

“A little province like Nova Scotia with less than a million people just can’t afford to provide on its own the kind of medical support that a larger province can.”

Overall, VanGorder thinks seniors are pretty lucky with what’s in the budget. He says it is an pre-election budget though, so he’s not certain how much of it will be followed through.

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