Fall Economic Statement

Budget Update: What’s in it for Canadian Seniors?

The federal government released their Fall Economic Statement in late November.

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement delivers the next phase of the government’s economic plan to “help create good jobs, build more homes, and make life more affordable,” with the aim of “building a strong economy that works for everyone.”

The Trudeau Liberals’ Economic Statement highlights three key trends of interest to members of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons.

CARP’s Chief Advocacy and Education Officer Bill VanGorder offers the following: “All in all, the update indicated that the government is concerned with many of the financial security issues that concern Canadians, but the details are slim making it hard to assess on behalf of older Canadians,” says VanGorder.

The reality is that the Fall Economic Statements provide an indication of the government’s direction in the coming budget, and but it doesn’t provide substance or details.  CARP awaits more information, while continuing our advocacy work.

1.   Pension Fund Investment


The fact that the government recognises the need for increased payments is positive, but there are as yet no details. CARP will be watching closely. 

The government also has an opportunity here to speak up and make an unequivocal statement in support of safety and security of the CPP, in the face of threats by Alberta of withdrawal.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that the federal government will work collaboratively with Canadian pension funds to create an environment that encourages and identifies more opportunities for investments in Canada by pension funds and by other responsible investment pools, while helping to deliver secure pensions for Canadians.
  • To enable pension funds to more fully participate in Canada’s economic growth, the2023 Fall Economic Statement also announces that the government will explore removing the “30 per cent rule” from investments in Canada. The 30 per cent rule restricts Canadian pension funds from holding more than 30 per cent of the voting shares of most corporations.
  • To improve transparency around pension investments, the government also proposes to require large federally-regulated pension plans to disclose the distribution of their investments, both by jurisdiction and asset-type per jurisdiction, to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). This information will be made publicly available, and the government will engage with provinces and territories to discuss similar disclosures by Canada’s largest pension plans in a simple and uniform format.

2. Canada’s Housing Action Plan


 Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland pledged up to $15-billion in new loan funding that could help build more than 30,000 additional rental housing units nationwide and earmarked an additional $1-billion over three years for a new affordable housing fund with a goal to build 7000 new homes by 2028. But the money won’t flow until 2025.

The housing investments are a good start but we need to hear the government speak specifically to appropriate, affordable and accessible housing for those who are 55, 65 or 75+ years old.  

  • The $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund, which is helping to cut red tape and build more than 100,000 new homes across Canada, faster;
  • Repurposing more federal lands to build homes on;
  • Removing the GST from new rental housing, including co-operative housing corporations that provide long-term rentals;
  • Unlocking $20 billion in low-cost financing for rental construction to build up to 30,000 more homes per year;
  • Financing more rental housing by providing $15 billion for loans through the Apartment Construction Loan Program, to help build 30,000 new homes;
  • Building more affordable housing for the most vulnerable Canadians with $1 billion for the Affordable Housing Fund, to help build more than 7,000 new homes;
  • Breaking down barriers to labour mobility within Canada, with priority for construction workers and health care professionals, and prioritizing skilled tradespeople for permanent residency;
  • Cracking down on non-compliant short-term rentals and supporting municipal enforcement of short-term rental restrictions; and,
  • A new Canadian Mortgage Charter to ensure Canadians at financial risk can access the tailored mortgage relief they can expect from their bank to help them make their payments and stay in their homes.

Other notes

  • In general, Fall Economic Statement indications of  cost-of-living reductions would be helpful to seniors who are being hard hit by junk fees, which are hidden, surprise fees that companies sneak onto customer bills.
  • The possibility of more ‘no fee bank accounts’ would be a good financial support to older Canadians, however, it has been mentioned before without action.
  • At the time of the Fall Economic Statement release, there was no mention of dental care. While further information was shared by the government in December, CARP is still awaiting further details that will answer key questions such as what is covered, who can access coverage, and what the copays are. Read more.