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.
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!
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