Réseau FADOQ welcomes the financial support offered to seniors in the federal budget, notably with the one-time grocery rebate and the expansion of the Canadian Dental Care Plan.
However, the country’s largest seniors’ organization deplores the decision not to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), which would have been another way to help GIS recipients cope with the rising cost of living. Keep in mind that a person under 75 receiving only Old Age Security and GIS has an annual income of just $20,575, which is below the official federal poverty line.
“This is a missed opportunity. Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Enhancing the GIS was a Liberal commitment during the 2021 election campaign,” says Gisèle Tassé-Goodman, president of Réseau FADOQ.
Also missing from this budget is another of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promises: the creation of a career extension tax credit. In a context of labour shortages, the introduction of a tax credit to encourage some experienced workers to extend their careers would have been very welcome.
For the one-time grocery aid, Ottawa will provide a rebate over the next year through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit. Eligible seniors will benefit from an additional amount of up to $234 for a single person and $306 for a couple.
Furthermore, Réseau FADOQ continues to deplore the fact that the 10% increase in Old Age Security still only applies to people aged 75 and over. This could have been another form of recurring financial support for people aged 65 to 74 to help offset the impact of inflation.
Dental care: Ottawa maintains course
As for the Canadian Dental Care Plan, the 2023-2024 federal budget stays the course, expanding the program by the end of the year, including extending it to seniors and people with disabilities.
“This is a good measure, but we need more details about the program to see the extent of coverage that will be offered to seniors,” commented Ms. Tassé-Goodman.
Finally, under the agreement with the provinces and territories, the federal government is delivering an additional $198.3 billion in health care funding over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding through the Canada Health Transfer, which will increase by at least 5% per year over the next five years. Réseau FADOQ has pressed to increase the Transfer on more than one occasion.