Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan Statement on Pension Reform

We recognize that many seniors need additional financial assistance from the government today, which is why we have also made significant changes that will benefit our seniors immediately.

We increased access to Locked-In Accounts, which will give seniors and other Ontarians even more flexibility in accessing their funds, and provided a two-year waiver of fees for financial-hardship unlocking applications.

For seniors who own their own homes, we doubled the Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant, so that starting in 2010, low and middle-income seniors living in their own homes will get $500 in support for their property taxes. Over the next five years, this grant will provide about $1 billion in property tax relief to more than 600,000 Ontario seniors.

In fact, we have made investments on every level to help Ontario’s seniors. This government has committed millions of dollars toward helping with property taxes, affordable housing and health care.

We are investing more than $1.2 million to expand our Elderly Persons Centres program, which supports the maintenance, operations and programming of 260 senior centres across the province. These centres serve as vital community hubs that provide health, social and recreational programs to promote wellness for seniors.

And we have also invested over $1 billion in the “Aging at Home” Strategy, which provides more equitable access to health care by matching seniors with appropriate support services in their communities

The McGuinty government recognizes the contributions that our seniors have made – and continue to make – in making our province the greatest place to live. Reforming Ontario’s pension plan system and building a stronger economy are much-needed steps that will allow us to ensure our seniors continue to be able to live with dignity, safety and security – for today and for the future.

Keywords: pension reform