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Feds announce additional $2.5B in funding for seniors

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 10:05 am PDT

Summary

Feds have pledged $2.5 billion in additional funding to help seniors amid COVID-19 pandemic

A one-time payment of $300 is available to seniors who already receive the Old Age Supplement

Another $200 is available for seniors on the Guaranteed Income Supplement

OTTAWA – The federal government has announced more financial assistance through a one-time, tax-free top up for seniors who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is making a one-time payment of $300 available to those who already receive the Old Age Supplement, and another $200 for those on the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Ottawa says more than 6.5 million seniors will benefit from the $2.5 billion initiative.

“We need to be there for those who have built this country for the rest of us,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

The additional funding is on top of other supports for seniors, such as the boost to the GST credits for low income seniors, and $350 million for charities that serve our most vulnerable, such as the United Way.

Throughout this crisis, many seniors have seen their savings dry up, all while the cost of groceries has increased as health risks have risen.

“And with today’s announcement, our government is taking action to alleviate some of the stress they may be feeling,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister added there will also be an additional $20 million in funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

“So that organizations can provide delivery services and help seniors stay in touch with family during the pandemic,” he explained.

Advocates and critics of the government have argued already-announced aid wasn’t enough. The prime minister has faced questions as to why this is only a one-time payment and not a monthly increase when the pandemic will last for some time. Trudeau has said this is short term relief, admitting more does need to be done.

Seniors have been hit hard in this pandemic. More than half the nearly 5,000 deaths from COVID-19 have also occurred due to outbreaks at long term care facilities.

When asked whether there will be a public inquiry into the tragic outbreaks at these facilities, Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said Tuesday the focus right now is on responding to the emergency. She said once it has past, there will be time to reflect on next steps.