Federal Aid for Seniors a Good Start But Not Enough … or Just

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announced special one-time grant for seniors will help … for a while.

But certainly not enough if we are to believe Trudeau, the Premiers and Canada’s health officials’ own warnings that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be with us for many, many months.

Think about it.

Yes, it will be nice for seniors receiving Old Age Security, on top of their Canada Pension Plan payments to get an extra $300 cheque; $500 for lowest income seniors, who also qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

One payment, one time … to be sent out in the next several weeks.

The government estimates 6.7 million Canadians will qualify under the program … total cost $2.5 Billion.

“Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said the Liberals arrived at the top-up figures by looking at extra dispensing fees with limits on prescriptions, additional travel costs for seniors avoiding public transit due to health concerns, and delivery fees for groceries,” reported the National Post.

“All small amounts, but it adds up,” she said.

Exactly.

It adds up … and so will the impact of the Covid-19 crisis … and the federal government knows that.

That’s why other federal programs, to help workers, students, small businesses, big businesses, huge businesses will all go on for several months … at some substantially greater costs.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (companies), $73 Billion; Canada Emergency Response Benefit (workers) $35 Billion; Canada Emergency Business Account, $15.3 Billion; Financial Aid for Students, $9 Billion; GST Extra Benefits, $5.5 Billion; Orphan Wells Cleanup Program $1.7 Billion … well, you get the point.

The $300 or even $500 each to help 6.7 million seniors … some of them struggling already … won’t go very far.

Especially in BC, where living costs van be much higher than most of the country, and the BC government has done NOTHING for retired seniors struggling with their cost of living …. literally … during the pandemic.

Premier John Horgan’s government has handed out $1,000 cheques to laid off workers; is paying $500 towards each month’s rent for those same workers … for four months; will pay a $200 Climate Action Tax Credit in July to moderate and low income families; but, again, NOTHING for seniors … not even a rebate on their ICBC premiums, despite most of us huddling in our homes now almost 24/7 !!

And adding insult to injury, should any hurting seniors decide to defer their municipal taxes, the BC government HIKED the penalty interest rate paid by seniors in April 2019 to 1.95%. (It was .70% when the NDP was elected in May, 2017; they raised it to 1.29% in April 2018; up again in Oct. 2018 to 1.45% and then again, to 1.95% in April, 2019.)

If Horgan and Trudeau respect, value and love seniors so much, NOW is the time to show it!

How about with a provincial Seniors Special Covid Income Tax Rebate; a Federal Seniors Special Income Tax Rebate; … or, a one-time Tax-Free RRSP or RRIF withdrawal of $5,000 or $10,000 ???

That would really help seniors get through the Covid pandemic … and not just the next month or so!

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me @harveyoberfeld on Twitter to get First Alerts to all new postings on this BC-based blog.

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30 Responses to Federal Aid for Seniors a Good Start But Not Enough … or Just

  1. SG says:

    Once again the Trudeau government didn’t fail to disappoint…. Maybe seniors can register for online open-learning courses as mature students, and cash in on some of the free student money.

  2. 13 says:

    Trudeau has made the phrase ” Its the least he could do” very appropriate . Havent heard the oppositions views but they should be roasting our prime idiot daily.Same for the media

  3. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    Did our goverment leave people on CPP disability and regular CPP out of the program ? my understanding is that old age security is being topped up , is that the sane as CPP ?

    if it is just OAS then a large segment of vulnerable people including the disabled will not receive assistance . it would have made more sense to add it to the CPP payments

    i could be wrong ,i honestly am not sure about the distribution . however if i am right shame on the goverment .

    (Response: CPP is not OAS: they are two separate programs. Every retiree who had contributed to Canada ension plan gets CPP …the amount depending on how much was put in; OAS goes to those under a certain income adjusted annually, dropping down as reported income rises. GIS goes to lowest income earners. h.o)

  4. BMCQ says:

    I know some seniors that participate on this blog might think your persistence on the subject of other seniors not quite so well off is a “NOTHING BURGER” Harvey but I
    am behind you 100% . Me supporting you might make you very unpopular with some here but you are a big boy and you have “God” on your side, you are correct in speaking out for seniors .

    Your suggestions here make sense and politicians need to be asked the questions required by media, once again it is time for media to shed some light on this and it is time for media to ask politicians of all brands at all three levels of government what they are doing for seniors and what do they intend to do for seniors .

    $ 1 Million Dollars a day gets “Flushed down the Crapper” on the DES each day so Poverty Pimps like Kwan, Mumbles Robertson, Townsend, Simpson, Kennedy Stewart, others from that ilk and Jean Swanson can make a living by sticking their snout as deep as they can in the “Public Trough” with absolutely NO results for over 20 years, in fact it gets worse each and every month, how can we tolerate this ?

    WE now have an ever expanding demand for more Tax Payer Funds to clean up Oppenheimer and there is no doubt like attempting to kill a million moles on a one acre lawn the problem will keep cropping up every time you turn your back as we can now see at CRAB Park of which I spoke last week .

    In the mean time Hard Working, Tax Paying Seniors are shuffled aside with not much more than a half hearted attempt to provide those seniors a minimum of assistance,
    of course the seniors do not push back, PC SJW Activists and Non Profits do not care, then on top of that media are all busy meeting in silence under their individual desks, so nothing changes for seniors .

    As I have pointed out in the past government does nothing in a rush, anytime government attempts to start a new program there is automatically more bureaucracy, more bloat, and more waste, and then it is “Hurry up and wait” for those in need of that government assist . We see that each and every day with any number of government endeavours .

    Then of course there ae the fraudsters, many from off shore, and many residing in Canada that are much more intelligence than our government people in charge of dispensing payouts which will amount to $ millions all of which could have assisted seniors . That will continue, no matter what the man at the bottom of the steps tells his “Flock” .

    Again, if the federal Government really wanted to assist seniors immediately and at the same time inject $ millions of dollars into the Canadian economy PM Justin and his minions would “Today” deem OAP and CPP “Tax Free’ Benefits for the rest of the calendar year 2020 at least and then depending on economic conditions that program could be continued on quarter by quarter going on into the calendar year 2021 .

    The injection of cash going towards seniors would be an automatic stimulus for them and the Canadian economy with the cash going directly to food stores, food services, drug stores, clothing, London Drugs, and so many more .

    That stimulus would help pay rents for retailers, store fronts in need, people that work in the stores and in turn it would assist those workers with the ability to spend on other important needs .

    Again, there could be a means test for the Tax free Pensions, those couples with combined earnings of $ 70 K or under qualify and in the case of singles the cap would be those with incomes of under $ 50 K .

    While we are at it we definitely need to take a very serious look at assisting seniors that lose a spouse which in all cases makes a very substantial difference in the standard of living for the surviving senior, that is not right and it should not be acceptable . It is time we did more for seniors than we are doing for the “Whacked Out” Drug/Opioid Addled Repeat Prolific Offender, we cannot help those people without a program that includes apprehension, detox, and long term drug rehab while in a government facility, time to stop wasting the hard working tax payers money, our country is broke and we need to get our priorities in order .

    I tend to agree that seniors should perhaps be allowed to cash some investments but I do not like the idea that they be required to do that just to keep their head above water, that does not work for me .

    Seniors need assistance now, seniors do not deserve to be strung along and basically ignored by Poverty Pimps, PM Justin, his Minions, and a media that is either asleep at the switch or napping under their collective desks .

  5. G. Barry Stewart says:

    The one-time $500 will certainly be a pittance, for millions of needy seniors on fixed incomes. (I wonder if those in subsidized care homes will have it scooped, to cover expenses…)

    I’m surprised that ALL seniors who qualify for Old Age Pension will automatically get the $300 tax free, though.

    I guess it’s a matter of bookkeeping simplicity… of not wanting to miss anybody… but I’ve got to think there are hundreds of thousands of Canadian seniors who don’t need the help; those who don’t qualify for the full OAP and the GIS, for example — though living in places like Vancouver can be tough on budgets.

    Even 100k x $300 is $30 million inaccurately shovelled off the back of the truck.

    I, for one, will give the $300 away to a needy charity, or hire a person to perform work around the house that I’d normally do myself. I invite others to do the same, if the aid is not needed.

    (Response: You may have two different programs confused. Not all who get Canada Pension Plan will get the $300: only those who also get Old Age Security …the top up that gets clawed back above certain income threshold; the $500 goes only to those getting Guaranteed Income Supplement … the lowest income group. h.o)

  6. MJV says:

    Hi Harvey – in reference to the Property Tax Deferral interest rate. Here’s how it was explained to me by my MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert:

    “The interest rate is calculated at a rate not greater than 2% below the prime rate of our principal banker. So in other words, if banks raise their prime rate to loan to government, so does the deferral rate. This is the same formula used for over 2 decades.”

    The prime rate was 2.45% on March 31, 2020 (and remains at 2.45%) so applying the government’s long standing formula the deferred rate should be 0.45% (Prime minus 2%) Instead the deferred rate was set at 1.95% on April 1, 2020 which is more than 4-times higher (!!) than the rate should be. I’ve pointed this out to the government but so far no response. Hopefully your blog can help get this rate reduced to where even the government says is should be. Thanks….

    (Response: Thank you … I would like to acknowledge to readers that it was your personal e-mail that alerted me to the deferred tax rates now being faced by seniors. The increase in the rate … almost tripling from .70% when Horgan/NDP took over in 2017 to 1.95 now … has added an extra burden. On top of increased Hydro, ICBC, gas/transit/municipal/provincial taxes, etc. Yes, MSP was dropped … wonderful! But our pensions sure haven’t kept pace! And who knows where the deferred tax interest rate will actually go when next reviewed in September! Time for Horgan/NDP to actually DO SOMEDTHING for seniors struggling in the Covid pandemic period … instead of just praising all we have done (and paid?) over our lifetimes. h.o)

  7. D. M. Johnston says:

    Ha, ha, ha – screwed again.

    I am a tween, no pension – no income except a meager CPP monthly payment, which does not even pay house insurance.

    Luckily my wife is eligible for Cerb/EI but with a son in grade 12 (oh yes he is screwed too as the lovely NDP have thrown the 2020 grad class under the bus), our savings are fast disappearing.

    Screw the seniors, yup this is what the NDP and Liberals are doing. Why, simple, we have no voice, we don’t count, except at election time.

    Just look at the disgraceful operation of senior care homes allowed by all levels of government!

    I am they type of person who should stay isolated because I have a nasty ability not to fight bacterial and viral infections. God knows I damn well near died a decade back and spent 11 days in emerg. because there was no beds available. Recurrences have sent me to emerg, four more times, though not as serious. A doctor told me my file read like a bad novel.

    Now, there are people who have much more serious problems but they are like me tweens and for all the government hype and hoopla, let covid-19 be a true “Boomer Remover”.

    Look, I am not asking for a windfall, but just a little sum to help pay the bills because food costs have increased by over 25%!

    I have grown tired of the daily political death count ….. look, we get it. I am tired of Trudeau and Tam telling me what I know, I am tired of Henry and Dix telling me what I already know; I am tired of Horgan’s photo-ops.

    I am tired of the Conservatives pretending they are GOP candidates in the Excited States.

    Until the government really starts dealing with the finical ills of seniors and those who are falling through the cracks, what they say is meaningless, in fact insulting……..

    ……. because post Covid-19 will be a menagerie of higher taxes and user fees and politically prestigious mega projects to keep political friends and insiders in business and unlike the Armani set, politicians and bureaucrats, I have little money to pay.

    (Response: The federal assistance MUST be expanded to treat seniors with the same degree of concern/respect/assistance Trudeau/Liberals are bestowing on workers, students, small businesses, even huge corporations! After all, we all pay the same grocery, car insurance, Hydro, cable, rents/mortgages, taxes etc. So why should the others get THOUSANDS (or even MILLIONS) for several months, but seniors get only a one-time grant of $300 ($500 if on GIS)? h.o)

  8. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    Thank you for the clarification, i should have known that i am just so tired and dealing with my own health issues ,

    there are many disabled people receiving CPP disability as well as a pension or a disability insurance payment . many do not qualify for social service top up . I would urge the goverment to top up CPP disability , many of these forgotten are truly suffering .

    i have to ask where is the opposition ?,where are the opposition ministerial critics, ?where are the candidates for the Conservative leadership? they are missing a dress rehearsal
    I am concerned about the use of non profits to deliver services across Canada for seniors , i am worried that they will model it after the service providers of the downtown east side ,thus taken a broken inept unaccountable at times fraudulent system and making it national .

    the economic hangover when the bills come in is going to be horrendous.

    (Response: The federal NDP has been pushing for aid for seniors: https://rabble.ca/news/2020/05/ndp-deserves-kudos-pushing-government-help-seniors-and-many-others. Of course, it’s easy when your in Opposition to ask/promise more for seniors and everyone else: I’ve seen all parties/leaders do that for 50 years! Funny, though, once they get into power, they find it harder to do that … and even often add taxes/fees/charges. Where is the BC NDP government’s Covid help for the majority of our seniors? Or on ICBC’s rate ripoff now that driving has been reduced so much ..again especially by seniors (even the big capitalist private insurance companies in the US are giving customers rebates!)? Where was the BC NDP when pharmacists were clearly ripping off everyone … but especially seniors … with TRIPLED dispensing fees? Why doesn’t the BC NDP government allow seniors a one-time special increased income tax exemption to reduce our tax burden during Covid? Much easier in Opposition! h.o)

  9. BMCQ says:

    Some here have asked/speculated about tax increases coming over the next while and I am here to ell you that you are 100 % correct and all three levels of government will hit everyone very hard and that includes the seniors of this country . Of those that only take and demand from government will pay nothing more as they pay nothing now because the PC SJW politicians, special interests and media have deemed them “Our most Vulnerable” . How disgusting, how is that so many in politics and media are barely mediocre at best ?

    Every single hard working tax payer including seniors had better get ready for increases in gas tax, carbon tax, property tax/rents, income tax, a re jigging of the personal income tax system so you pay more, increases in parking tax, an increase in sales tax provincial and federal especially anything to do with the car or truck, increased tax on travel, hotels, amusement, entertainment/hockey games, all different types of home services, perhaps maybe even an asset tax, you might add to this list along with many more I have not listed, and then the final assault on the Seniors that worked hard, built this country, they are going to tax YOU when YOU die .

    Your PM Justin will step out of his tax payer funded “Frogs Cottage” onto his podium one day and announce “There will be a uh “Estate Tax” (Death Duty) on the uh Estates of those fortunate enough to uh have ah worked hard, sacrificed, and saved uh on assets over a certain amount (5%) because we are all uh Canadians and we deserve to share in YOUR uh hard work and uh sacrifices” .

    I am not sure what the percentage will be on that “Death Duty” but I can almost guarantee you it will come within 24 months and the tragedy of that is media and those voters that only take from the Tax Payer will endorse his plan .

    Somewhere in Canada and somehow thee needs to be a movement that organizes Seniors similar to the AARP of the USA that fight back against Government assaults and attacks on the senior population that made Canada what it was only a short few years ago .

    Where are Paul Martin and Stephen when we need them ?

    Sue, they were not perfect but they did give us good government and we are certainly not getting that now .

    WE need the “Canadian Association for the Advancement of Retired People” ,
    Canadian Seniors deserve much better than what they are getting now .

  10. e.a.f. says:

    The sibling had a good laugh when the heard seniors would receive up to $500, that ought to take care of this month, what about next month.

    A program will have to be implemented for seniors which is more than a one time grant. This virus is not going way. I have maintained from the beginning this virus will be much like HIV/AIDS, for which there is no vaccine and no cure. Todays news reports, the WHO is saying much the same thing. The virus may be with us for a very long time. Canada has to make adjustments to assist seniors. Many do not have the incomes necessary to buy prescriptions, food, rent, etc.

    Just the increase in groceries is astounding. Prior to the COVID and broken leg, it was Costco FOR A few items, the rest at two local grocery stories. One doesn’t deliver, the other, we’re out side their delivery area, so we are shopping on line. the grocery bill has doubled. When you have your favorite stores and they offer great deals, you stock up Now that isn’t possible. If you’re some one with a compromised immune system you can’t get in the car or walk to your favorite shop, no it all has to be delivered. the increase in costs at the grocery stories isn’t all their fault either. it requires staff to keep the stores, clean, etc. we can all expect services and store prices to go up One hair salon owner told me they will be able to work at 60% of what they once did. given all the extra cleaning they will need to do prices will have to go up.

    its nice to see the students getting some help, but how about the seniors. the sibling and I will make it through but we know a lot of seniors who are not going to be able to. we worry about them because we know them, they’re our friends Many seniors today are aging babyboomers and they did not have children there is no one to help them and for many their children do not have any extra money.

    I do believe the federal government has done a decent job of providing funding for the majority of Canadians. However seniors need a tad more money then the currently do. Not all, but a lot of them do. so Harvey thank you for taking up this issue.

    (Response: I think BOTH the federal and BC government have done a fairly decent job for many in handling the terribly dangerous and challenging Covid pandemic from a health, societal, economic and even communication perspective. And I do not begrudge any of the assistance being provided workers, renters, the needy or small businesses. BUT I think Horgan and Trudeau should be ashamed at the way they have virtually ignored the struggle many seniors are dealing with every day, with escalating prices and dwindling savings. Hard to believe the feds, who have announced BILLIONS to help huge corporations, will provide only a one-time $300 for retired senior Canadians receiving OAS; and $500 for GIS recipients; and the BC government has done NOTHING for seniors in the way of ICBC relief, tax relief, Hydro relief, Prescription relief … NOTHING! Except tell us how much they care! 🙁 h.o)

  11. max avelli says:

    (Edited..h.o)

    BCMQ opines:

    “Somewhere in Canada and somehow thee needs to be a movement that organizes Seniors similar to the AARP of the USA that fight back against Government assaults and attacks on the senior population that made Canada what it was only a short few years ago.”

    Umm…duh. We have a parallel here in Canada already. Apparently, BCMQ is not half as smart as it thinks it is. It is the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). See https://www.carp.ca/about/

    (Edited..h.o)

  12. BMCQ says:

    Maxiavelli

    Unlike like you and too many others on this blog I am always willing to be corrected or made aware of something I might not be aware of, is that after all not one way of becoming educated on any given subject ?

    To me becoming informed on a subject is part of why I am here, it is after all about the argument, the discussion, and the debate, education ones self or learning from others really has nothing to do with intelligence, it has more to do with the fact that one is willing to listen and learn, you might give that some consideration .

    (Edited..off topic)

    I am now aware of CARP and now that I am aware the organization actually exists I must ask the following question of them, where the Hell are you, why are you not standing up for seniors ?

    (Edited…off topic)

    When I arrive at the office in the early am tomorrow I will send a quick note off to your friends at CARP and encourage them to “Stand Up”for Canadian Seniors, they are sadly asleep at the switch regarding some of the biggest attacks and negligence by governments at all three levels ever perpetrated on Seniors .

  13. 13 says:

    Why has carp remained invisible. I can only imagine the terror that has over come the public sector. Federal civil servants (what an oxymoron) are under enormous pressure as
    every day the BOSS stands in front of a door at outlines where the money truck will be cruising on a daily basis. Needless to say the money truck steers clear of seniors . steers clear of Alberta, steers clear of the people that will be paying for all of his good time Charliespending. The soon to be taxed like they have never been taxed before Middle Class. As far as carp and the advocate for seniors ive written to both orgs and both responded by telling me it was not their job to ensure that seniors were “ALL” looked after.
    The money truck seems to only operate in Quebec and Ontario and to much lesser degree in some indigenous communities. We can all rest easy now that Vancouver in the middle of a pandemic has managed to find hotel rooms for 250 drug addicted criminals. Any seniors out there that would like to be housed in a hottle and have meals delivered please put up you hand.

  14. DBW says:

    Every day Dr. Henry tells us

    BE KIND. BE CALM. BE SAFE.

    BMCQ. I will save you the time of writing a letter to CARP asking “where the Hell are you, why are you not standing up for seniors… regarding some of the biggest attacks and negligence by governments at all three levels ever perpetrated on Seniors .”

    https://www.carp.ca/2020/03/26/covid-19-financial-supports-announced/

    BE KIND BE CALM BE SAFE

    (Response: I am a member of CARP (AARP too) …have been for many years. Here’s a link to CARP’s latest info/demands on behalf of seniors: https://www.carp.ca/2020/03/26/covid-19-financial-supports-announced/ h.o)

  15. hawgwash says:

    Two thumbs up DBW!
    BMCQ, don’t browbeat CARP.
    I pointed out a few blogs back, there are 5.9 million seniors in Canada; 5% (300,000) of them belong to CARP.
    The other 95% must be expressing a nationwide yawn, are doing quite nicely thank you or are too busy whining about nobody doing anything.

  16. BMCQ says:

    (Edited…off topic ,which is aid to seniors)

    I am always kind, generous, safe, and supportive, especially to seniors .

    I would never brow beat CARP but questions should be asked in a calm kind way . My apologies for missing the info on CARP, in future I promise I will read your posts as carefully as you read mine .

    Having said all of that I strongly believe all of us should ask more direct pointed questions of media, politicians, and other government officials, we as citizens, especially seniors need to get better quality for services and care in return for what we pay in taxes .

    Every single one of us should stand up and defend what we believe in and what is just, we are somehow losing that in our PC SJW world, if we do not stand for justice and good we might as well just surrender .

    So now that I understand several contributors here are members, supporters of, or aware of CARP I have a question .

    Is CARP doing what they should be for the support of Seniors ? Where is CARP on this very subject we are discussing on this job?

  17. DBW says:

    With a straight face, BMCQ asks: “Is CARP doing what they should be for the support of Seniors ? Where is CARP on this very subject we are discussing on this job?”

    Had he he gone to the link that both Harvey and I posted he would have found this.

    https://www.carp.ca/2020/04/30/carp-calls-financial-support-seniors-pandemic/

    including video of media coverage.

    What exactly do you want them to do?

    I am not a member of CARP nor am I a member of any other advocacy group but I am finding it more than disconcerting that people here have questioned Sam Sullivan and Rick Hansen and groups who support seniors and the disabled as if they are doing nothing.

    No they are not on Harvey’s blog making demands, but I am pretty sure they are working behind the scenes fighting for Social Justice like the Warriors they are.

    (Response: As a member and financial supporter, I can say CARP has pushed long and hard on a non-partisan basis to improve programs/services/protections for seniors across the country. And with more than 300,000 members, politicians from all parties do pay attention. Of course, more members would mean more impact …so if anyone can afford a few extra bucks, as low as $19.95 a year, I’d recommend it. You can check out the website: https://www.carp.ca/ h.o)

  18. max avelli says:

    Dear Harvey,

    You jumped the shark, so to speak, a couple of months back with your posts.

    The stuff more recently about shutting down access to parks was just silly.

    Seriously, maybe we should try and prevent people doing stupid things right now, like getting too close to one another. We are close to being safe to do things again, as long as a few don’t screw it up.

    BTW — when do plan on going “cruising” again? Not soon? Point made.

    As you are someone with multiple “co-morbidities”, you should really be smarter. You are not 30 anymore. These rules are designed to protect people like you. Just saying.

  19. 13 says:

    MJV are you aware of available statistics with the property tax deferral?what % use it and individual municipal stats

  20. MJV says:

    In response to 13’s question … here’s a link to a story with the latest stats that I could find on short notice: https://vancouversun.com/health/seniors/property-tax-deferrals-by-seniors-grows-53-per-cent-in-four-years/

    The number of seniors in B.C. who deferred their property taxes in 2017-18 has grown by 53 per cent in four years, according to a report by seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

    Last year, 57,305 seniors deferred their property tax, an increase of 13,179, or 21 per cent compared with 2016-17. The total amount of property tax deferred last year was $208.8 million.
    Mackenzie described the increase in property tax deferral as “dramatic.”
    She pointed out that 81 per cent of seniors are homeowners. Mackenzie believes the money saved by deferring taxes is being used by seniors to support themselves and maintain their independence in their own homes.

  21. MJV says:

    Harvey – here’s an update to my answer just posted:

    This from the most recent report Monitoring Senior Services from Seniors Advocate BC website:
    The Property Tax Deferment Program is growing each year, but in 2018/19 there were less new
    users for the first time in many years. There were 63,581 open accounts, an 11% increase from last
    year and a 52% increase from 2014/15. There were 13% fewer new users than the previous year,
    19% more homeowners continuing deferment and 12% more maintaining deferment accounts
    opened in previous years without deferring their 2018/19 taxes. The total amount of property tax dollars deferred in 2018/19 was over $237 million, a 14% increase
    over the previous year and a 93% increase from 2014/15. Of this amount, approximately
    $37 million were newly deferred.

    (Response: I’m not surprised there were fewer users of the deferment program in 2018-2019, but I’d suggest that’s not necessarily good news. I suspect it’s because there are more rich homeowners in Vancouver now and fewer retired middle class and working class homeowners. That may be good for some of us … enjoying increased values etc. …but not sure it’s great for the city, and families. h.o)

  22. VICTORIA TEA PARTY says:

    HEADING TOWARD A UNIVERSAL INCOME

    Hi Harvey.

    I’ve lost count of the number of Trudeau-launched programs he’s chirped out over the last two months. It’s amazing.

    This one-time senior’s help will probably be extended by month’s end as was some employer/employee payroll plan this morning.

    I look at the number of “pay-out” programs ongoing from OAS/CPP to Veterans to UI and all the new stuff.

    At some point some overworked (is that possible?) federal civil servant bean-counter will put a single question to Justin: “Hey, Boss, why not roll all programs into one and cut a cheque for every Canadian citizen of voting age, plus landed immigrants, and send $3-ks a month tax free? Anything the people want to make after that means they’ll have to go to work and pay tax.”

    What about that? Frees up computer time and allows for lots of layoffs.

    What a plan for a larger and larger gig economy!

    (Response: No doubt many people and businesses need help through the Covid crisis. But you know me: I’m a bit cynical when politicians give us back ANY of our own money. So I believe this is also part of a pre-Spring-election setup: Trudeau will seek a majority government. And frankly, I think it’s likely a very good one! h.o)

  23. e.a.f. says:

    D. M Johnston writes,

    “screw the seniors….we don’t count, except at election time.

    Just look at the disgraceful operation of senior care homes allowed by all levels of government.”

    I realize the topic is regarding federal assistance to seniors, but lets not over look as D.M. Johnston says about care for seniors in “seniors’ homes”.

    You wonder why they all go there. Could not some be living in their homes with some assistance? Given my experience with in home care provided by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, not so much. I have no reason to believe its different in any of the other Health Authority regions.

    In a previous post I listed my experience and it still isn’t great. Suddenly one morning you receive a call advising no care aid will be coming. They’re short staffed. They would have known the day before they were going to be short staffed, why not advise clients the previous evening. Some might have been able to make arrangements.

    Then the total disorganization at V.I.H.A. (Vancouver island Health Authority) Some days no one, other days 3 people in one day. Now does that make sense? Finally started asking questions. Turns out the one in the a.m. is there for 17 minutes. Then two others once of twice a week are there to help with “personal care” or house hold help. Now the first thing about ‘house hold help”, they don’t vacuum. Its against VIHA rules for their care aides to vacuum. No one can explain why, its just the rule. Still requiring a wheel chair and walker I can’t vacuum, so you can imagine what the floors are starting to look like.

    I’ve had one care worker who told me it was not in the “Red book” that she do dishes. I explained I didn’t ask her to do dishes, just move some dirty dishes off the counter, on to the sink. NO, that was the house hold aides job. I tried it myself, dropped the plate, later cut my toe and called 911 for the bloody foot. They did clean up the broke glass and bandaged my foot.

    On of the major duties I need performed is to have bottled water by my bed. When the care aides don’t come, I get dehydrated. They allow 10 minutes for that, but then when they don’t have sufficient staff, that doesn’t get done.

    Because these services are tax payer funded the various health authorities need to establish a rate you will be required to pay. For this they want your income tax forms as best as I can understand and if not that your bank statements. I was clear I wasn’t turning over my banking statements to them or any one else. Bank statements, how many people use more than one or two banks. what does it provide them. Its an extreme violation of privacy. No problem turning over the tax forms, but I couldn’t find them. Having moved, broken leg, living on a floor by myself, couldn’t get to them. Was advised this week if I didn’t supply them, my care aides would be cut off. Offered to pay maximum. No way that was against the rules. Offered to pay the hourly rate. No, against the rules, this was a government service. Needed the tax forms. Now during all of this I had been clear my taxes were not up to date. The last year I filed was 2017. On Wednesday I was told if I did not supply the tax forms my care aides would be cut off. Fortunately a trades person was in the house and conduced the search. THE PERSON FOUND THEM SOME WHERE I COULD NOT SAFELY GET TO. Now I’ve been told I need to have 2018 or 2019 or I’ll be cut off. Oh, the occupational therapist said she’d check with her supervisor. End of conversation. Now I did find that funny. The federal government has given us extra time to file for 2019 and so they aren’t due. How could VIHA expect some one in lock down because of the virus and a broken leg get their taxes done and no I don’t do them on line. At no time did VIHA ever said 2017 wasn’t sufficient until today.

    If this is the government service sent to help me please send one of my enemies.

    The sibling with Parkinson’s, diabetics, heart problems, etc. had a care aid once a week and when the pandemic was declared all the care aides were laid off and no other plans were in place. Now add to that the new washer breaking and no way to do laundry for a diabetic that isn’t cool. During a telephone meeting with her neurologist she expressed her concerns. He took care of it. She now has a care aid once every two weeks. The care aid came, brought all the laundry upstairs and did it here. Oh, the washer has now been repaired. But really what do other people do? We tend to have staying power to advocate for our selves, but who will do my laundry when the care aides are withdrawn. who will move dirty dishes if it needs to be done, who will fill empty water bottles or empty urine bottles.

    Now I must say VIHA is keen to shove you off on to a private company. However, I don’t want a private company. VIHA is a government service and I have some faith in the workers (they’re good). You know who is coming in to your home, with private agencies, not so much.

    Now I know why seniors go into care homes. Our family has never been keen on it and the parental units stayed at home until nearly the end and died in hospital. The sibling and I having for decades been aware of what goes on in care homes always said we’d rather take the exit to avoid it. Well we do live in B.C. and we have more drug deaths than any other place in Canada. Being aging baby boomers we knew where to find drugs in Kits, in the 1970s.

    Having had this experience, I know its temporary and if VIHA CUTS me off, I’ll simply call 911 when I need help. Some may say its a waste of resources, but really, if you drop things, cut your feet or don’t have easy access to water, what else are you to do.
    I’m supposed to have an x ray taken of my leg, but there is no way down those stairs.

    Once the emergency is over the government needs to take a long hard look at services provided to seniors. They may even save money because sending 3 care workers to my home in one day, who are paid mileage, is a waste of time. Usually, the third is told, no need for them Given I don’t know when they’ll come here I can’t even phone to tell VIHA I don’t need them, care aid 2 took care of it all.

    As to the letters I sent my MLA, the health minister, and two departments at VIHA, a month ago, I’m still waiting for an answer.

    The other thing they’re keen on asking is can’t the relatives help. That started with occupational therapists in hospital. I don’t know what occupations therapists actually do except drive you crazy, but they’re big on asking where are the relatives. Do they think every senior has kids, or relatives. In a country full of immigrants and refugees, many people came here alone or with a spouse and some kids. There are no relatives. As I told several. The parental units got off a ship in Halifax with me in 1951. There may be a cousin in Australia, but that isn’t help. the rest we don’t know. I finally got so pissed off with the question I told them the Nazi’s murdered a lot of them during WW II. that did shut a couple up, but really…………who ought to need to give that type of an answer. Occupational therapists in my opinion are useless. Care aids, mostly do a good job and are underpaid. Don’t know who is in charge of any of it, but it is doubtful they know what is going on in their departments or if they do, they need to be replaced. Oh, before any one says you can’t fire a government employee, oh, yes you can. it just takes a supervisor/manager who is willing to do their job, but most aren’t.

  24. 13 says:

    MJV thanks for the numbers. I am a senior and I knew the deferral was available. . I know one senior that is using the deferral and I had asked him why a few years ago. His answer was simple. There was no way he could afford the tax on his home . It was a brand new home and he had it built on an island, it has is cliff side with a view of Juan de fuca straight. The taxes are ridiculously high. I also asked him why he had not built with a steel roof. More common sense from the senior . Why do I need a roof to last a lifetime when Im 70 years old.
    I will likely begin to use the deferral program I had no idea that the cost had gone up thanks again for the info.
    Max your point was not made with the question when will youi cruise again. For the life of me the only point I think you are trying to make is to argue over what colour is the sky

  25. 13 says:

    eaf, the problem with care at home for seniors is obvious. One care worker needs to visit more than one home per day to make it financially viable. We all know why covid spread through the care homes. How do the care workers show up? In a fresh set of PPE for every visit. Sounds like risky business these days I hope for the best outcome for you and your sister.
    Now is not a good time to be a senior in need of assistance. Thank you China

  26. MJV says:

    Hi – I finally found the reason why the April 1, 2020 Property Tax Deferment rate was based on the old prime rate of 3.95% instead of the current prime rate of 2.45%. Here’s the explanation I received from BC Taxation Branch:

    “The Land Tax Deferment Interest Rate Regulation required that the April 1, 2020 rates be set based on the prime lending rate as of December 15, 2019. The prime rate on June 15, 2020 will be used to set the tax deferment interest rates for October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.”

    So – that’s that. It seems the government is not as nimble as the banks when it comes to applying prime rate changes to customers/citizens.

    (Response: Thanks for your efforts on this … and alerting all of us in BC to what has been going on. The fact remains that, despite interest rates dropping, the interest rate for deferred taxes for seniors in BC has almost TRIPLED since Horgan/NDP took power in 2017. h.o)

  27. SG says:

    This morning Trudeau was very pleased to announce, with a twinkle in his eye and a big toothy grin, that there will be a one time extra $300.00 for anyone collecting the Canadian Child Benefit, and a permanent monthly increase to the CCB starting in July to cover the rising costs of groceries and other essential goods… Great, that matches the $300.00 on time extra benefit for seniors, but where’s the permanent monthly increase to OAP or CCP to help seniors cover the rising costs of groceries and other essential goods ?
    With the same twinkle in his eye and toothy grin Trudeau also announced an extra $15 Million for women’s programs.. Dare I suggest that since Trudeau is riding high in the polls, that as soon as it’s determined that the curve has flattened Trudeau will call a snap election. IMHO Trudeau seems to be electioneering, he’s mainly directing money to sectors most likely to vote Liberal. Seniors are the one sector least likely to follow the money to the polling booth. I simply can’t think of any other reason as to why seniors are being left behind. Heck, even homeless people are being treated better than seniors right now.

    (Response: Yes, I was watching and noticed the generosity: a one time special May benefit of $300 PER CHILD, plus COLA boost in July, added on to the current maximum annual child benefits of $6,765 for kids under 6, and $5,708 for those 6 to 17. While seniors will get a SINGLE $300 extra cheque. Here’s more details for those interested: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/prime-minister-announces-annual-increase-to-the-canada-child-benefit-825723258.html. Sure looks to me like Trudeau doesn’t fully value or appreciate the difficulties being faced by seniors under Covid! h.o)

  28. e.a.f. says:

    given one in five children in Canada lives in poverty, spending money on them is a good thing. Kids are expensive and if your kid has special needs, you really do need the money. If your child is autistic extra courses, testing all comes out of your pocket.

    However, seniors have a lot of extra expenses also especially once they have their drivers
    licenses revoked Medication is another expense which isn’t covered well enough. If seniors need to go to pysio or massage therapy==no money for that either. Over at Laila Yuile’s blog, a month ago or so one a senior wrote and explained how the money they receive from the feds simply isn’t enough to pay for all of their medications so they have to ration them. I recall letters to the editor over the past several years over on the Island from seniors detailing how they have to live on $1,400 a month. Seniors having to go to the food bank is ridiculous If the government can currently pay $2K a month to people who are out of work, there is no reason seniors who need money can’t receive it.

    The sibling and I are fortunate we have adequate income. However, not all do. that needs to be changed. I know of cases where people retired and thought they had enough money but 25 yrs down the road, with inflation, their money just didn’t go far enough. It has always been my opinion the rate of inflation is kept artificially low by government so they don’t have to pay out as much. its the same as keeping the rate of unemployment artificially. Learnt that one while working for the feds back in the 1970s. I can remember towns were the “officical rate” was 10 or 15%, but when you got out in the community it was closer to 30% after that never did trust government figures

    Keeping seniors on a decent diet, proper medications, with things like pysio, etc. will keep a lot of them out of hospitals and long term care facilities and that in the end saves money.

    What all this federal spending has demonstrated is, if the government wants to it can provide social programs. just hasn’t been a political will up to now.

  29. BMCQ says:

    You said, “If the government wants to it can provide Social Programs” .

    Perhaps yes to a degree but one must keep in mind that government at all three levels only has”Your Money” to provide any programs, and as time marches on especially now that China has so kindly dropped the Covid 19 Virus in ALL Free World Nations governments have now run out of “Your Money” and they are borrowing $ Billions to fund social programs along with business support, wage and salary programs .

    As has been discussed more than other group in society it is the seniors that get the least.
    Canada is soon to enter an era where we really only have two National Federal Parties and it appears that PM Justin have more or less abandoned the Seniors of this country, if the CPC have any interest in having a chance in the next election and in fact if they have any interest in doing the right thing and representing ALL Canadians they should step up and fight for Seniors, without the hard working tax paying seniors that built this country we would have nothing .

  30. HARRY LAWSON says:

    EAF

    your last 2 post are so truthful and written from the heart,

    we cancelled our home support for much of the same reasons as you describe,you have so eloquently describe the plight of so many seniors . we need a truly national inquiry. a national action plan and national standards

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