The 2022 Fall Economic Statement outlines the government’s plan to continue to help Canadians with the cost of living and building a Canada where purportedly nobody gets left behind.
However, very little in the update was directed at older Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, the number of seniors aged 65 and older is growing 6x faster than children 0-14. As well, the number of persons aged 85 and older has doubled since 2001, reaching 861,000 in 2021. According to population projections, this number could triple by 2046.
Bill VanGorder comments, “The needs of older Canadians are increasingly relevant and significant as our population ages. They are a growing economic and politically influential group. We’d expect to see far more in the budget update directed at older Canadians. Much of what we did see were repeat announcements.”
None of the demands that CARP brought before the Federal Finance Committee last fall were implemented. They were:
- That the government boost Old Age Security (“OAS”) by 10% for people 65 to 74.
- That the government increase the Canada Pension Plan (“CPP”) Survivor Benefit by 25% for people 65 and older—from 60% to 75% and remove the benefit ceiling that negatively impacts a surviving spouse.
- That the government eliminate current mandatory RRIF withdrawal rules.
- That the government amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Actand the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to give pensioners ‘super-priority’ status and the government create a pension insurance program that insures 100% of pension liabilities.
- That the government make the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) the single, unified and binding dispute resolution body for banking and investment services.
- That the government establish legislation or regulations to ensure new, appropriate National Long-Term Care Service Standards (set to be finalized in 2022) are upheld and enforced.
- That the government ensure that sufficient funding is provided where provincial and territorial governments are able to meet or exceed the appropriate national standards.
- That the government establish a citizen oversight panel to ensure that national standards for care are achieved and maintained.
- That the government make the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit a refundable tax credit, or a rebate.
- That the government exempt in-home caregiver services from the federal portion of the HST.
- That the government allow a drop-out provision of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for full-time caregivers who have left the workforce due to their caregiving responsibilities.
- That the government commit to preventive care by fully funding three leading vaccines for all adults over age 65, for high-dose flu, the new (and more effective) shingles vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.
- That the government implement a Fitness Action Plan for Seniors to help seniors be healthier, and stay independent and at home longer.
CARP is pleased to see:
- The $4 billion over six years, beginning in 2023, towards automatic advance payments of the Canada Workers Benefit. Many older Canadians are still in the workplace.
- The $1.02 billion to Service Canada to process Employment Insurance (EI) and Old Age Security (OAS) claims faster will also be meaningful for those in our demographic who receive OAS.
- The support for those impacted by Hurricane Fiona. In Atlantic Canada, seniors, were especially hit hard, particularly in rural areas.
- The launching of negotiations with payment card networks, financial institutions, acquirers, payment processors, and businesses to lower credit card transaction fees for small businesses through amendments to the Payment Cards Networks
CARP is concerned regarding:
- The $802.1 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. CARP will be advocating for an expansion of the parameters to include older Canadians who want to transition to new areas of employment. Similarly, the $250 million over five years to help workers prepare and retrain for a “changing global economy” must also be aimed at older workers. Older workers contribute meaningfully to the economy.
- CARP members, like most Canadians will watch with anticipation the launching of a Supply Chains Regulatory Review to consider further regulatory changes that could improve the efficiency and resiliency of Canada’s supply chains.