CARP Reflects on Advocacy Wins as we Prepare for New Challenges in 2017

CARP WINS: Where have we come from?

In late-October, 2016 a number of CARP Chapter Chairs from across the country came to Toronto to participate in a two-day intensive retreat to set out 2017 priorities. We received valuable input and have been working hard ever since to nail down our advocacy priorities for 2017.

We will set out these priorities in our January 2017 Action Online Newsletter.

In deciding where we will go, it is important to remember where we have been and give thought to the things we’ve been able to accomplish together. This list is impressive and has inspired and energized our advocacy team going into the New Year. We want to share some of these wins with you.

  1. Elimination of Mandatory Retirement

CARP was active in achieving change in human rights legislation across the country that extended protection to workers aged 65 years and older. The result is the end of mandatory retirement. This is very important win.

  1. Ensured that Canadians Continue to Collect Old Age Security (OAS) at 65 Years of Age

The previous government committed to increasing the age that Canadians can collect OAS to 67. CARP advocated strongly on your behalf and our current government heard our united voice and scrapped the plan, ensuring that Canadians have the financial security they deserve when they turn 65.

  1. Implemented Pension Splitting for Seniors

CARP National, working closely with a key Chapter, was very vocal on this advocacy priority and was ultimately successful in achieving pension splitting for seniors, ensuring that your hard-earned money stays in your pocket and out of the government coffers.

  1. Reduced the Amount of Mandatory Withdrawals from RRIFS

When a Canadian turns 71, they are required to withdraw a certain percentage from their RRIF yearly. In 2015, our advocacy helped reduce the percentage that you are required to withdraw (from 7.38% to 5.28% in the first year of mandatory withdrawals).

  1. Enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan

Increase to the CPP was long overdue. CARP brought the fight to Ottawa and the Provinces this year. Our advocacy resulted in an agreement between the provinces that will increase CPP entitlement from a 25% income replacement rate on a maximum income of $54,900 to a 33% income replacement rate on a maximum income of $82,700 to be phased in gradually over a period ending in 2025.

  1. $1,000 Increase for Low-Income Seniors through the GIS

CARP was instrumental in achieving an increase of approximately $1,000 to the GIS for low-income seniors in Canada.

  1. $3 Billion Dollar Pledge to Homecare

CARP has always believed that Canadians should be enabled to live independently in their home as they choose to. Our advocacy was instrumental obtaining a pledge of $3 billion dollars for homecare. This is an important and timely win for CARP.

These are significant wins for seniors across the country. You should be proud of our accomplishments, but we should be wary about complacency. We have made a big difference for seniors, but there is a still lot of work to do.

Where do we go from here?

As we look toward 2017, we now face the critical task of identifying our advocacy priorities for the next year.

We believe our future wins are within reach and have been culled from feedback on priority concerns from our Chapter Chairs and members. Defining our priorities offers great challenges; there are many issues that deserve our attention but with time and staff restrictions, we have to make some tough decisions on what will make our yearly list. This is where you can help.

In our November survey we have given you the opportunity to weigh in on priorities we are considering and offer your input on priorities that you believe should be on our radar for 2017. We look forward to your continued input to help shape our advocacy priorities and want to congratulate you on the wins we have achieved together so far!