Assisting our poorest seniors in Canada should be a priority for all of us;
The quality of life for seniors could be improved by recognizing the importance of increasing the Old Age Supplement.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada call upon Canada's Members of Parliament to increase Canada's OAS program to insure that those that need it the most are getting more.
The Old Age Security (OAS) program is the first pillar of Canada’s retirement income system. The benefits under the OAS program include the OAS pension, which is paid to all persons aged 65 or over who meet the residence requirements, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for low-income seniors, and the Allowances for low-income Canadians aged 60 to 64 who are the spouses or common-law partners of GIS recipients, or who are widows or widowers.
To ensure that they retain their value over time, OAS benefits are reviewed four times per year (in January, April, July and October) in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures the price of a typical “basket” of goods and services, such as food, shelter, gas and clothing, commonly purchased by Canadian households. The quarterly indexation provides benefit increases to recipients when prices go up. In addition, the Old Age Security Act contains a guarantee ensuring that benefits can never go down, even in the event of a decline in the CPI.
The Government of Canada remains committed to improving the income security of seniors and continues to seek ways to strengthen the OAS program, as demonstrated by a broad range of measures taken since 2015:
More recently, the Government committed to increase the OAS pension by 10 per cent for seniors aged 75 years and older.
The Government has also introduced several new measures to protect seniors’ financial security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these measures, the Government is providing about $900 more for low-income single seniors and more than $1,500 for low-income senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.
The Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan invested $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the GST credit in April 2020. More than 4 million low- and middle-income seniors benefited from this top-up, which provided an average of $375 for low- and modest-income singles seniors and an average of $510 for low- and modest-income senior couples. Eligible individuals, including seniors, did not have to apply for this benefit.
The Government introduced a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the OAS pension, with an additional tax-free payment of $200 for seniors eligible for the GIS. This measure will provide a total of $500 to low-income seniors who receive both the OAS pension and the GIS. Allowance recipients will also receive $500. This $2.5 billion investment in financial support will help Canadian seniors cover increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This payment was issued during the week of July 6, 2020. Individuals who are eligible to receive the OAS pension or the GIS in June 2020 are eligible for this payment and did not need to apply to receive the one-time payment for seniors. The one-time payment was paid to their bank account if they are enrolled for direct deposit. Those who are not enrolled for direct deposit received a cheque.
To help protect seniors’ investment assets during a volatile market, the Government reduced the minimum withdrawals required from Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25 per cent for 2020.
The deadline for filing 2019 taxes was June 1, 2020. The Government has put additional measures in place to ensure that GIS payments will continue without interruption even if a person's 2019 income information has not been received. This will guarantee that the most vulnerable seniors will continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. Seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than October 1, 2020. Further, the Canada Revenue Agency is working with volunteer organizations across Canada to help seniors with low and modest incomes complete and file their tax returns so they can continue to access benefits and credits to which they are entitled.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.