According to Statistics Canada, there are more than six million Canadians aged 65 or older. They are the fastest growing demographic in Canada. By 2036, the percentage of seniors in Canada is expected to rise to 24%: nearly a full fourth of the population. Even if the statistics weren’t so overwhelming, Canada’s senior citizens are still deserving of a government that puts them first. Unlike the other parties, the Green Party will stand up for seniors by introducing proposals that will increase both financial freedom and quality of life.
We will protect the pensions that senior citizens worked so hard to earn. We will strengthen the Canada Pension Plan by making sure it increases over time. The target income replacement will grow from 25% to 50% of received income during working years. We will also strengthen private pensions by amending the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect company pensions from creditors. We will address the fact that today’s RRSPs are terribly inefficient and not enough to supplement a pension by itself anymore. Today’s laws now allow the failure of pension trusts and loss of pension benefits. Our view is that provincial governments should be prohibited from taking possession of a pension trust fund or the earnings it administers.
It is important to ensure all seniors who qualify are made aware of available federal income supplements and instructed on how to apply for them especially if they have no access to a computer. Equally important is ensuring safe, affordable housing. We pledge to implement a guaranteed livable income, home retrofits and affordable housing to contribute to seniors’ quality of life.
As the cost of prescription medications rise exponentially, seniors are particularly vulnerable to either losing significant chunks of their income to make up the cost or do without. To us, both options are unacceptable—we need to devise a program that creates a third option that is fair and helpful to seniors. This will include true universal prescription coverage as well as coverage for other non-pharmaceutical care such as registered massage therapists. We are committing $26 billion to this as opposed to the $6 and $10 billion by the Liberals and NDP, because we believe it is that important.
Accessibility is still severely lacking in Ontario. We support an equipment fund, in cooperation with the provinces, to provide equipment such as wheelchairs and accessibility tools to assist persons with disabilities with the tools needed to fully participate in work and community life. Our goal is to make Ontario completely accessible by 2025.
Partnership between federal and provincial government is still very important. When we are successful in implementing this partnership, life – for seniors, and for all Canadians – will only improve.