July 21, 2021
The Government of Canada is continuing to strengthen seniors’ financial security and improve their quality of life. We are making retirement more affordable for Canadians after a lifetime of hard work.
Stronger income security
- The Liberal government has strengthened Canada’s public pension system.
- We’re improving the retirement income security of Canadians later in life:
- To provide short-term support, we will issue a one-time $500 payment in August 2021 directly to OAS pensioners aged 75+ as of June 2022.
- In July 2022, we will permanently increase the Old Age Security pension by 10% for all seniors when they turn75+, providing $766 over the first year to pensioners receiving the full benefit.
- We restored the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65 years from 67 years, putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of seniors.
- Our government increased the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by 10% for individual seniors, improving the financial security of about 900,000 vulnerable seniors.
- To help working seniors keep more of their benefits, we increased the GIS earnings exemption to allow seniors to earn up to $5,000 without any reduction in benefits, and a partial exemption for the next $10,000. It also now includes self-employment income.
- We worked together with provinces and territories to increase the Canada Pension Plan’s maximum yearly benefit for future retirees by about 50%, meaningfully reducing the risk of not saving enough for retirement. The Quebec Pension Plan mirrored these improvements.
- When our increase to the Basic Personal Amount is fully implemented in 2023, 4.3 million seniors will benefit, including 465,000 whose federal income tax will be reduced to zero. That means up to about $300 for individuals and $600 for couples.
- Our Middle Class Tax Cut in 2016 reduced the second personal income tax rate by 7%. Affected individual middle class Canadians saved an average of $330 a year and couples saved an average of$540 a year.
- Tax reductions, benefit increases and policy revisions implemented by our government have reduced the number of seniors living in poverty in Canada by 11% since 2015. Our plan to improve support seniors is working, and there's still more work to do.
Health and well-being
- The new Age Well at Home initiative will help low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors live in their homes for as long as possible. It will fund practical supports from community groups to connect seniors with help for tasks they are no longer able to manage.
- To help seniors get care at home, we invested an additional $6 billion in home care and community care, as well as palliative care services. Through Budget 2021, we’re investing $29.8 million to advance our government’s palliative care strategy.
- We also invested $5 billion to improve access to mental health and addiction services.
- The National Housing Strategy will invest $70 billion by 2027-28 to help more Canadians, including seniors, find an affordable place to call home.
- We’ll implement an annual 1% tax on non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered vacant or underused on January 1, 2022. This targets the unproductive use of domestic housing, helping the housing market better supports Canadians.
- To create opportunities for seniors to be more connected, supported, and active members of their communities, we’re investing an additional $20 million a year in the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This is helping community groups provide exercise classes, community kitchens, financial literacy classes, and other local programs, as well as making capital investments to improve the facilities that keep seniors engaged and healthy.
- We invested $50 million to deliver interventions that promote safe relationships and prevent family violence, including elder abuse.
- To move forward with foundational elements of national, universal pharmacare, the government is working with provinces and territories on:
- A new Canadian Drug Agency that would negotiate drug prices on behalf of all Canadians, thereby lowering costs.
- A national formulary to be developed by the agency.
- A national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, with funding of $500 million per year, starting in 2022-23.
- This will build on steps we’ve already taken, including new rules on patented drugs that will save Canadians over $13 billion over a decade.
- We’re also helping break down barriers to make communities more inclusive for seniors and those living with disabilities. To support construction and renovations that make public spaces accessible, we invested $177 million in the Enabling Accessibility Fund. And the new Accessible Canada Act will help provide more consistent accessibility across the country.
- By improving the eligibility criteria for mental functions and life-sustaining therapy, we’ll help an estimated 45,000 more people living with disabilities access the existing Disability Tax Credit and other related support measures.
- We’re undertaking consultations to reform the eligibility process for federal disability programs and benefits. This work will feed directly into the design of a new disability benefit.
Support during the COVID-19 pandemic
- To help seniors with their extra costs during the pandemic, we provided one-time, tax-free payments worth over $1500 to a low-income couple.
- In April 2020, more than 4 million low and middle-income seniors received a GST Credit top-up—worth an average of $375 for individual seniors and $510 for senior couples.
- In July 2020, we provided a one-time tax-free payment of $300 to 6.7 million OAS pensioners and a further $200 to 2.2 million seniors eligible for the GIS.
- Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, during the pandemic we launched over 5,000 community projects that reduce isolation, improve seniors’ quality of life, and help them maintain a social support network when seniors need it most.
- To help seniors and others get essential services and supplies, such as the delivery of groceries, we invested half a billion dollars through partners like the United Way, food banks, and charities.
- Regardless of their pension benefits, seniors who became unemployed because of COVID-19 are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Recovery Benefit, worth $2,000 a month. We also created the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit to support those who can’t work because they’re taking care of a loved one.
- We reduced mandatory minimum withdrawals from RRIFs by 25 per cent for 2020 due to market volatility.
- To ensure the most vulnerable seniors continue to get the benefits they depend on, we temporarily extended GIS and Allowances payments for seniors who couldn’t file their income information on-time.
- Revenue Canada launched new virtual tax clinics, with new flexibility to receive and authenticate documents, to assist vulnerable Canadians get their taxes done while staying safe.
- We created a new online portal, ca, to connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals for confidential support, and make it easier to find credible mental health help. The online portal has been used by over 1.2 million Canadians as of May 4.
- We’re also investing $100 million to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, including seniors.
- We are making the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Canadians for free.
- While long-term care is regulated by provincial and territorial governments, the federal government is working together with them to help protect residents and staff.
- We’re investing $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made. To keep seniors safe and improve their quality of life, the federal government will work collaboratively with provinces and territories, while respecting their jurisdiction over health care, including long-term care. This work will help ensure seniors and those in care live in safe and dignified conditions.
- The Heath Standards Organization and Canadian Standards Association’s work with governments, stakeholders, and Canadians to develop national standards for long-term care will help inform our ongoing discussions with provinces and territories on improving the quality of life of seniors in long-term care.
- We are establishing a new $1 billion Safe Long-term Care Fund to help provinces and territories protect seniors in long-term care. It will support infection prevention, ventilation improvements and staffing.
- The Safe Restart Agreement invested $740 million for measures to control and prevent infections in long-term care homes and other vulnerable populations.
- To help address acute labour shortages in long-term care and home care, we are:
- Funding the training of new personal support worker interns through an accelerated online program and 4-month work placement.
- Supporting a national dialogue on training standards by Colleges and Institutes Canada.
- Funding new applicants training and job experience opportunities in the Supportive Care Assistant Program.
- To help strengthen the retirement security personal support workers, homecare workers and essential workers involved in senior care, we’re investing $27.6 million for incentives for worker participation in my65+, a Group Tax-Free Savings Account offered by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare.
- The new COVID-19 Resilience funding steam lets federal infrastructure funding be used to upgrade long-term care homes, making them more resilient to keep seniors safe.
- We released Guidance for Long-Term Care Homes to prevent and control COVID-19 infections.
- We are investing billions to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, including long-term care workers.
- We provided $3 billion to provinces and territories to increase the wages of low-income essential workers, such as long-term care workers.
- Personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to over 50 long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario.
- Supported by a $135 million federal investment, the Canadian Red Cross has provided surge capacity to protect vulnerable populations, including at long-term care facilities. We are investing a further $150 million to build and maintain Canada’s humanitarian workforce.
- The Canadian Foundation for Health Improvement’s LTC+ initiative helps long-term care facilities and seniors residences to learn from each other’s best practices.
- We are funding research to study the effectiveness of promising practices to protect long-term care homes from COVID-19, led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
- We took important steps to make insolvency proceedings fairer and more transparent, and made changes to federal corporate law to ensure better oversight of corporate behavior—including making company directors liable for excessive and unreasonable payments made to executives in the lead up to insolvency.
- We also made public pensions fairer:
- We allowed couples who are forced to live apart for reasons beyond their control to receive Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits based on their individual incomes instead of their household incomes.
- To make sure seniors receive the benefits they paid for, we’re introducing proactive enrolment for Canada Pension Plan for those aged 70 and older.
- We introduced the new Canada Caregiver Credit, which provides a tax reduction of up to $1,071 for expenses for the care of dependent relatives with infirmities and $335 for expenses for the care of spouses or children
- To improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with dementia, our government created Canada’s first National Dementia Strategy, backed by a $50 million investment. We invested a further $20 million to assist community organizations supporting seniors living with dementia and $31.6 million in research. These investments will enhance the quality of life for seniors living with dementia and ensure that their caregivers—who are predominantly women—have access to the resources they need, including mental health supports.
- The National Research Council’s Aging in Place Challenge Program will partner with like-minded research organizations to develop breakthroughs to help older adults stay in their homes longer.
- Our government created a Seniors’ Minister to ensure seniors’ interests are always considered at the cabinet table.
- Seniors are disproportionately at risk of fraud, particularly as they are doing more online. To help keep Canadians safe from cybercrime:
- We created the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to provide trusted advice and the RCMP's National Cybercrime Coordination Unit to bolster investigations.
- We invested $29.5 million in the Digital Literacy Exchange program, which supports initiatives that teach seniors digital literacy skills, online fraud protection and equips them with skills to safely and effectively use computers, mobile devices and the internet.
Our government is committed to:
- Developing Criminal Code amendments to explicitly penalize those who neglect seniors under their care, putting them in danger.
- Ensuring everyone – including in rural and remote areas – has access to a family doctor or primary care team.
- Expanding capacity to deliver virtual health care.
Summary of major benefits seniors’
- Old Age Security provides seniors who meet the residency requirements up to $618.45 a month, an investment of $42.7 billion in 6.7 million seniors in 2019-20.
- To support low-income seniors, the Guaranteed Income Supplement provides up to $923.71 a month for individuals and up to $556.04 a month for couples receiving the full OAS pension, an investment of $13 billion in 2.2 million seniors in 2019-20.
- The Canada Pension Plan provides contributing seniors up to $1,203.75 a month for recipients who start at age 65, or an average of $619.75 a month. Annual payments worth $46.5 billion help 5.9 million seniors.
- Registered Retirement Savings Plans help Canadians save for retirement by allowing contributions to be deducted from taxable income and to grow tax-free. 8.9 million households had RRSPs or RRIFs, saving $17 billion in taxes a year.
- The Age Credit (Age Amount) reduces seniors’ annual taxes by up to $1,145.55, supporting 5.9 million seniors with a projected reductions of $3.9 billion in 2020.
- The Pension Income Credit reduces the annual taxes of 5.2 million seniors with eligible pension income by up to $300, saving them $1.2 billion in 2020.
- Pension income splitting allows couples to allocate up to one-half of pension income to their partner for income tax purposes, reducing the taxes of 1.2 million couples by $1.5 billion a year.
- The Medical Expense Tax Credit provides tax relief for qualifying above-average medical or disability-related expenses. It provides $1.9 billion in tax reductions to 5.1 million individuals, many of whom are seniors.
- The GST Credit provides a quarterly payment worth up to $456 for individuals and $598 for couples a year. For those without children, it is payable to those with adjusted family net income of below $48,012 for individuals and $50,852 for couples. It supports 10.5 million Canadians at an annual cost of $5 billion.
 Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey 2019
 The Report on Federal Tax Expenditures 2020 provides the value and beneficiaries for tax measures
 For April-June 2021
 For April-June 2021
 As of January 2021
 As of the most recent CPP annual report, 2018-2019
 As of 2020
 Report on Federal Tax Expenditures 2020