Federal Budget: Highlights for Seniors
Update from Canada’s Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte.
I want to share some of the highlights for seniors in Budget 2021, the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.
Here are a few of the key proposed initiatives in Budget 2021 for seniors:
Increasing seniors’ financial security
The government will increase Old Age Security (OAS) benefits for seniors age 75 and older. Budget 2021 proposes to implement this commitment in two steps:
- By providing a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to OAS pensioners who will be 75 or over as of June 2022.
- By introducing legislation to increase regular OAS payments for pensioners 75 and over by 10 per cent on an ongoing basis as of July 2022.
This would increase the benefits for 3.3 million seniors, providing additional benefits of $766 to full OAS pensioners in the first year, and indexed to inflation going forward.
This would give seniors more financial security later in life, when they are worried about outliving their life savings. As seniors age, their health and home care costs rise, all while they are more likely to be unable to work, have disabilities or be widowed. Our plan helps address these pressures and improve older seniors’ quality of life.
Helping Seniors Age Well at Home
To support seniors to live in their homes for longer as they age, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $90 million to launch the Age Well at Home initiative.The initiative would assist community-based organizations in providing practical support that helps low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors age in their homes.
It would match seniors with volunteers who can help with meal preparations, home maintenance, daily errands, yard work, and transportation. It would also help seniors access local services such as shoveling snow, cutting grass, picking up medicine and taking care of other practical, non-medical tasks that they are no longer able to manage.
Strengthening Long-term Care and Supportive Care
We welcome the Health Standards Organization and Canadian Standards Association‘s work to develop national standards for long-term care. Their work with governments, stakeholders, and Canadians will help inform our ongoing collaboration with provinces and territories on improving long-term care, while respecting their jurisdiction.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made, so that seniors and those in care live in safe and dignified conditions.
More supports of interest to seniors
In addition to the supports mentioned above, Budget 2021 proposes to:
- Build, repair, and support an additional 35,000 affordable housing units for vulnerable Canadians, including seniors. This is part of the National Housing Strategy, which is on track to invest $70 billion by 2027-28 to help more Canadians find an affordable place to call home.
- Help more families and people living with disabilities access the existing Disability Tax Credit and other related support measures.
- Improve access to palliative care and end-of-life care, including culturally sensitive care by proposing to provide $29.8 million over six years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to advance the government’s palliative care strategy and lay a better foundation for coordinated action on long-term and supportive care needs.
- Provide $100 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19,including seniors.
- Invest $400 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to create a temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize so they can better support the economic recovery in our communities.
- Extend the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit an additional 4 weeks, to a maximum of 42 weeks, in the event that caregiving options are not sufficiently available.
- Invest $50 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, for the Public Health Agency of Canada to design and deliver interventions that promote safe relationships and prevent family violence, including elder abuse.
- Provide an additional $15 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Veterans Affairs Canada to expand and enhance the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund for projects that will support veterans during the post COVID-19 recovery, including addressing homelessness, employment, retraining, and health challenges.
The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. The vaccine rollout is accelerating across Canada, and the federal government is on track to receive 48 to 50 Million doses by the end of June.
Minister Deb Schulte
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