"Two classes of seniors"

Tassé-Goodman: "Insufficient federal transfers are hampering the expansion of access to care. And the pandemic exposed the great health needs of the provinces."

The federal government’s announcement that it will increase regular OAS payments by 10% for seniors aged 75 and over in 2022 is not inclusive enough, according to the Reseau FADOQ, Canada’s largest seniors organization.

President Gisèle Tassé-Goodman said the new measure is “a fine intention to financially help seniors, but basically, people under 75 who are eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) get absolutely nothing.”

While the Réseau FADOQ welcomes the fact that Prime Minister Trudeau is finally meeting his 2019 electoral pledge, the groups says “by introducing an increase in Old Age Security exclusively for people aged 75 and over, the government is creating two classes of seniors. To avoid this divide, our organization recommended that the 10% OAS bonus be aimed at all people eligible for this benefit, from 65 years of age.”

The budget also calls for OAS recipients aged 75 and over to receive a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021. “Instead of allocating a one-off amount of $500 next August, it would have been preferable for the 10% bonus to be introduced in 2021,” explains Tassé-Goodman.

Last year, a one-time payment of $300 for people eligible for OAS was announced to which the federal government added a $200 payment for seniors collecting the guaranteed income supplement, and seniors received a one-time GST credit worth an average of $375 for singles, $510 for couples.

FADOQ also deplores that the new fiscal year does not increase amounts granted to the provinces by the Canada Health Transfer. “Our organization does not understand the federal government’s lack of will to give the provinces sufficient resources in the area of health. Insufficient federal transfers are hampering the expansion of access to care. And the pandemic exposed the great health needs of the provinces,” says Tassé-Goodman. In 2019 FADOQ asked for a 6% annual indexation in transfers and the consideration of the aging population of the provinces and territories in the calculation formula.

FADOQ welcomed the investment of $3 billion in long-term care, “essential investments, but which will certainly come with conditions. Negotiations between the federal government and the provinces and territories must not delay the arrival of these sums which are crucial for long-term care and services.”

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