CARP, on behalf of its over 320,000 members across Canada, commends the Government for including seniors in Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s Speech from the Throne.
Given the devastating toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on older people across the country, it’s critical that solutions to support seniors be at the forefront of planning Canada’s economic recovery.
In particular, CARP was appreciative of the government’s commitment to help people age safely at home and to establish national standards for long-term care in collaboration with provincial / territorial governments. Better support for front line care workers, and acknowledgement of their essential service in caring for vulnerable seniors, was also mentioned—a step CARP has been advocating for in the wake of the recent deaths in care homes. The speech also promised an accelerated plan to national universal pharmacare. However, details around all issues including the promised increases to OAS and the CPP Survivor’s Benefit were frustratingly vague and repeated the message we’ve been receiving for months.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our older population has been immeasurable,” says Bill VanGorder, CARP’s Chief Policy Officer. “Seniors in every corner of our society are at significant risk in many ways—poor mental health from social isolation, financial insecurity and the obvious threats to their health are at the top of the list of urgent issues the government needs to act on now as we plan our path forward as a nation. We’re relieved to see some of these concerns reflected in today’s speech.”
Over the course of the pandemic, CARP has been consistently lobbying for urgent action on priority issues affecting older adults, including:
- A substantive investment in home and community care to keep vulnerable seniors safe at home and promote healthy aging in place
- The promised increase to Old Age Security by 10% for people 75 and older and Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefit by 25% for people 65 and older.
- Greater protections from insolvency for defined-benefit pension plans
- Increased financial support for unpaid family caregivers, making the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit refundable or a rebate and a drop-out provision of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for full-time caregivers who have had to leave work
- A comprehensive Dementia Care Strategy
- A fully-funded vaccine program for all seniors, including the best, most effective vaccinations for influenza, shingles and pneumonia
- Universal, comprehensive and evidence-based pharmacare
“These are the things that matter most to our members,” says VanGorder. “Real issues affecting real people in every part of Canada. A true commitment to protecting our aging population means taking real steps to address these concerns, and it needs to start at the top with the federal government.”