Federal Budget: What do seniors want?


You can join CARP even if you are as young as age 45. But although I was born in 1950, I waited until this year to join. I guess I didn’t want to identify as “old” or “getting older” and the term “Zoomer” coined by CARP President and media mogul Moses Znaimer made me think of seniors zipping around on motorized scooters.

What finally did it for me, is that we will no longer be eligible for a corporate gym membership at Goodlife Fitness when my husband retires and CARP offers members a hard to beat annual rate of $400 + HST.

However, aside from the collateral benefits of membership, what CARP does really well is advocate for the interests of its members. And along with over 50 other retiree groups across the country representing over 1 million Canadians, the consortium Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés has put together a wish list of what they want to see in the 2015 Federal Budget.

On Monday April 20th from 11-12 noon they are holding a pre-budget event in Ottawa. Members of Parliament from all parties have been invited and the following will be in attendance:

Elizabeth May:          Leader, Green Party
Irene Mathyssen:      NDP Caucus Chair, Seniors Critic
John McCallum:        Liberal Pensions, Seniors Critic
Hedy Fry:                   Liberal Health Critic
John Rafferty:            NDP Pensions Critic

Seniors Vote/Le Vote des Aînés calls on the federal government to:

  • Work with provinces to increase the CPP
  • Strengthen income support by
    • Restoring the OAS eligibility age to 65 from 67
    • Increase the exempt earnings band for GIS
    • Increasing the amount of OAS and GIS for low income seniors
  • Increase income supports for low-income single older Canadians not yet eligible for OAS by creating an equivalent to the OAS spousal allowance
  • Prohibit retroactive erosion of earned pension benefitsnational pharmacare program
  • Work with the provinces to create a national pharmacare plan, with an ultimate goal of first dollar coverage for all Canadians
  • Work with the provinces to fund and set national home care standards to improve access, affordability, and quality of post-acute and chronic care, in the home and in the community, with particular focus on dementia care
  • Increase financial support and provide workplace protection for caregiversincome equality
  • Work with the provinces to ensure every Canadian has access to housing appropriate to need, including affordable and supportive housing, and assisted living services
  • Address growing income inequality which affects Canadians of all ages

These are complex issues and I suspect the ink is already dry on this year’s budget documents as we speak. However, seniors represent a lot of votes and a lot of disposable income, so with a federal election on the horizon, political representatives completely ignore them at their peril.

My two favourites are a national top up for CPP and a national pharmacare program. By Tuesday April 21st at 4 PM we will find out if the Harper government is prepared to act on any of these items.

I’m not holding my breath, but a girl can always hope…..:)



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