OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The Liberal government will live up to a federal election campaign pledge to increase old age security benefits for older seniors, the prime minister said Thursday.
“We know people are living longer and are worried their retirement savings are going to run out before they expected them, and we need to be there, and we made that commitment, and we’re standing by that commitment,” Justin Trudeau told a radio station in St. John’s, in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“But, obviously, right now, through the pandemic, we’re having to recalibrate our priorities.”
‘Something in throne speech’
Trudeau indicated there will be something for seniors included in his government’s throne speech on Sept. 23.
“These are the discussions we’re having and you might have to wait for the throne speech to find out what our plan is moving forward,” he said.
Trudeau pledged during last year’s election campaign that a re-elected Liberal government would increase old age security by an extra 10 per cent once a senior turns 75, which amounts to as much as $729 each year.
The Liberals also said they would boost the Canada Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent, which they pegged as worth up to $2,080 in additional benefits each year.
In May, the federal government announced an additional $2.5 billion for seniors who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government made 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 said more than 6.5 million seniors benefitted from the additional money.
‘Made good on promise’
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.
In 2016, the federal government made good on another Trudeau promise, restoring the eligibility for old-age security to 65.
The Conservatives announced in 2012 that they would raise the eligibility age beginning in 2023, arguing the system was not sustainable.
The Liberals pledged during the subsequent election campaign to reverse that.