What seniors want. What seniors get. Seniors hold centre stage as election approaches


What seniors want. What seniors get. Seniors hold centre stage as election approaches – parties court older voters with long list of promises on core CARP issues

October 15, 2015

Toronto, ON:   Older voters are being aggressively courted by each of the major federal parties in hope of securing votes on election night on Monday, October 19. And for good reason -seniors remain Canada’s most committed voters.

“Regardless of who becomes Prime Minister on Monday, Canadian seniors will see material improvement in support for their daily challenges – whether it be drug costs, caregiving, or saving for retirement. The long election campaign allowed us to unpack all the different campaign promises so that CARP members and other older voters could make a clear, informed choice.  CARP members will welcome this growing acknowledgement of the needs of all Canadians as we age. Now, to make sure that the promises are kept,” said Susan Eng, Executive Vice President of CARP

Party promises to older voters respond to a long list of issues CARP has long advocated for, including:

Party promises aligning with CARP’s core issues

Elections Canada estimates that, on average, 75.1% of all citizens between 65 and 74 cast a ballot in 2011’s general federal election. 60% of all citizens over 75 turned out to vote as well, boasting a turnout rate much higher than that of younger adults. Older voters make up a powerful decision-making bloc, especially as the population continues to age. Nearly 25% of the Canadian population is over the age of 55. Their votes and voices matter and federal party leaders have taken notice.

CARP prepared a platform comparison chart that shows how each party has responded to CARP members’ priority issues. See the full chart below.

Liberal Party

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visited CARP’s headquarters in September to speak at a town hall meeting on many of CARP’s central issues. A video of the event is available here.

Trudeau introduced a basket of promises to reduce poverty in old age, improve homecare, and expand caregiver support, responding directly to many of CARP’s longstanding advocacy issues. The Liberals are now campaigning for older votes with the following promises:

  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for single, low-income seniors by ten percent, giving one million seniors $920 more each year
  • Reverse the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, from 67 to 65
  • Introduce a new seniors’ price index to ensure OAS and GIS payments keep up with the real rising costs of living
  • Enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Extend compassionate care leave
  • Invest $20 billion in social infrastructure, including seniors’ residences, rent-geared-to-income housing, and refurbishment of existing facilities
  • Maintain pension income-splitting for seniors
  • Join with provincial and territorial governments to buy drugs in bulk, reduce the cost Canadian governments pay for these drugs, and make them more affordable for Canadians
  • Restore home mail delivery


NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also made extensive promises on a list of CARP issues, including measures to increase financial supports for low-income seniors and investment for seniors’ healthcare:

  • Commit $1.8 billion to expand health care for seniors , including home care for 41,000 seniors, 5,000 more nursing beds, and improved access to end-of-life care, resources, and support
  • Develop and fund a $40 million National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Strategy to address these growing epidemics
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by up to $400 million to aid 200,000 low-income seniors
  • Reverse the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, from 67 to 65
  • Establish a $30 million fund to improve access to end of life resources, services, and support
  • Invest $2.6 billion over four years to fund universal drug coverage via provinces
  • Streamline drug review and listing process to reduce costs
  • Restore home mail delivery

Conservative Party

During the 2011 election campaign, the conservatives ran on a platform that ultimately delivered a $300 million increase to GIS and ended mandatory retirement federally, among other senior focused policies. The Conservatives’ Stephen Harper came into this election campaign having recently made a number of moves in the 2015 budget designed to garner the support of older voters. Including campaign promises, the Conservatives are offering to:

  • Create a $2,000 non-refundable Tax Credit for Single Seniors who have pension income
  • Increase TFSA contribution limits to $10,500 per year
  • Reduce RRIF rates to help prevent retirees from outliving their savings
  • Expand caregiver leave through EI from six weeks to six months for people who have to take time off from work to care for their loved ones
  • Negotiate with provinces to join the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to jointly negotiate and lower the cost of brand name, publicly funded drugs

Although the parties’ strategies on seniors may differ, one thing is clear: they understand that the support and confidence of seniors is critical to their success. This campaign has seen each of Canada’s major parties respond directly to CARP’s non-partisan advocacy and our calls for meaningful reform. As October 19 approaches, remember to check CARP’s website for regular updates on how each party’s plans affect you.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission. CARP has 300,000 members nationwide.

 For further information, please contact:

Sarah Park   416.607.2471
Director, Strategic Communications
[email protected]

Michael Nicin   416.607.2479
Director of Policy & Strategic Planning
[email protected]

Anna Sotnykova  416.607.2475
Media & Communications Coordinator
[email protected]

CARP, A New Vision of Aging for Canada
or visit our website: www.carp.ca

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