Thursday, July 24, 2008

Working Seniors Get A Break

Human Resources and Social Development Canada / Ressources humaines et Développement social Canada

The Government of Canada is helping low-income seniors in British Columbia

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, July 23, 2008-The Government of Canada is following through on its commitment to strengthen Canada's public pension system and ensure that low-income seniors keep more of their hard-earned money without a reduction in benefits.

Today, Mr. Mark Warawa, Member of Parliament for Langley, on behalf of the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors), met with local seniors and service providers, and announced changes to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) that will provide an additional $8.1 million in GIS payments to over 13,800 working seniors in British Columbia.

"Our government is committed to supporting seniors living on fixed incomes, and giving low-income seniors who choose to work the financial flexibility they desire in retirement," said Mr. Warawa.

"Today's seniors are living longer and more active lives than ever before, and their participation in the labour market is growing," said Minister LeBreton. "This positive measure will put money back into the pockets of thousands of low-income seniors who work."

"I commend the Government of Canada for implementing this measure that will greatly benefit thousands of low-income seniors across Canada," said Ms. Susan Eng, Vice President of Advocacy, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus (CARP). "Whether by choice or necessity, seniors are participating in the labour force in greater numbers than ever. This measure is a major step forward and CARP encourages this government to continue to be proactive in providing seniors with increased security and flexibility in retirement."

On July 1, 2008, changes came into effect increasing the GIS earnings exemption to $3,500 from $500. A single pensioner, for example, earning $3,500 or more, will be able to keep up to an additional $1,500 in annual GIS benefits.

The GIS is a monthly benefit provided to low-income seniors who receive the Old Age Security benefit, which is provided to all Canadians aged 65 and over who meet the residence requirements.

Budget 2008 and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of Canada's seniors through the introduction of a series of important measures that include:

  • providing $13 million over three years to help seniors and others recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and to provide information on what support is available;
  • funding projects in hundreds of communities across Canada under the New Horizons for Seniors Program, helping seniors to bring their leadership, energy and skills to benefit our communities;
  • enabling 1.6 million low-income seniors to benefit from increased monthly benefits available under the GIS and to make a one-time application for GIS. As long as they file income tax returns every year, these seniors will never have to re-apply;
  • establishing the National Seniors Council to advise the Government on issues of importance to older Canadians;
  • providing more than $1 billion in tax relief each year to Canadian seniors through pensions income splitting and enhancements in the age and pension income credits; and
  • enabling seniors to build their retirement savings in Registered Pension Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans for an extra two years until age 71.


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