Support For Seniors

Through their years of support and service to their families, their communities and this country, Canadian seniors have earned our admiration and gratitude. That’s why our Government remains committed to supporting and protecting our seniors.

Through our Government’s Economic Action Plan we’ve initiated a series of measures aimed at helping Canadian seniors enjoy their later years with dignity.

One of the first initiatives our Government put forward in 2006 was to allow senior couples the freedom to split their pension income. By allowing a senior to split their pension with their spouse or partner, we lower the taxes that they are required to pay and allow them to keep more of their money. Nearly six years after first being implemented, millions of pensioners have been able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

We also made changes to the Age Credit—increasing it not once but twice—growing the amount of income that seniors can earn without incurring tax consequences. In 2006, we increased this amount by $1000 and in 2009 we increased it again by an additional $1000.

The result of these and other similar initiatives means that a single senior can now earn up to $19,542 and a senior couple can earn up to $39,084 before having to pay federal income tax. Since 2006, our Government has been able to take 380,000 seniors off of the tax rolls, letting seniors keep more of their hard earned money.

In order to help seniors stay involved and active in their communities, our Government also introduced increased funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This program supports organizations dedicated to helping seniors get involved in their communities through volunteerism and mentorship, among other things.

In Economic Action Plan 2012, we’ve built on those initiatives by introducing the largest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 25 years. We are providing a top up benefit to the GIS which will provide single seniors with an additional $600 per year and will provide $840 per year for senior couples. This measure will help increase the standard of living for roughly 680,000 seniors.

While the rate of poverty among Canadian seniors is low compared to other advanced countries, we refuse to become complacent on this issue. I and the rest of the Conservative Government will continue to fight for our seniors.

In addition to improving economic conditions, our Government knows that the primary responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens. Far too often, seniors are the victims of fraud, neglect and abuse, our Government has responded to this by taking steps to help better protect seniors.

Our Government recently announced an amendment to the criminal code which lists vulnerability due to age as an aggravating factor in sentencing. Those who would take advantage of Canadian seniors now face tougher penalties. This bill also acts as a deterrent against these criminals, helping stop them before the crime has even been committed.

Furthermore, in order to have the needs and concerns of seniors better heard within Cabinet, Prime Minister Stephen Harper added the position of Minister of State (Seniors). Having a formal representative in Cabinet helps ensure that seniors have a voice within our Government.

Helping improve the financial conditions of our seniors, while working to better protect them, are just some of the ways our Conservative Government is standing up for Canadian seniors.