On Mar. 27, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and three ministers each visited different ridings across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to discuss the 2019 federal budget with local seniors and highlight the ways in which it will help the aging population.
Trudeau was in Scarborough, Ontario, where he outlined measures within the budget he thinks will improve the quality of life of Canada’s seniors. The budget sets about to address Canadians’ retirement security through three main priorities. Firstly, the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption will be increased so that low-income seniors can keep more of their income. Secondly, there will be proactive enrollment in the Canada Pension Plan for contributors over the age of 70 so that they will receive the pensions to which they’re entitled. Lastly, the protection of workplace pensions in the event of business insolvency will be increased.
The prime minister also highlighted the proposed budget investment of $50 million over five years to implement Canada’s first National Dementia Strategy, and increased funding to the New Horizons for Seniors Program, to help seniors maintain a connection to their local communities.
Trudeau said, “Canada’s seniors have worked hard to support their families, build strong communities, and grow our economy. Their knowledge, skills, and experience are the cornerstones that have built our businesses and our country. Now, with this year’s budget, we’re making sure they have the support they need, and investing to provide Canadian seniors with the freedom and peace of mind they deserve in their retirement years.”
Patty Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labour, was in Timmins, Ontario, where she spoke about how the budget would help people who cannot afford the cost of medication. She also highlighted measures in the budget designed to help First Nation seniors and seniors with disabilities stay at home in their communities longer. She said, in part, “We know many First Nation seniors and people with disabilities struggle to stay home in their communities … we’ll be putting $35 million towards supporting First Nation seniors and people with disabilities on reserve through the Assisted Living Program, to stay in their communities so that they can age around family.”
Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor was in Amherst, New Brunswick. She, too, focused on pharmacare, expressing the necessity of affordable medication. She spoke of funding in the budget intended to establish a Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office — there will be one agency to negotiate drug prices rather than countless different ones, which will bring prices down.
Finally, Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development, was in Gatineau, Quebec, to highlight the ways in which investments in the budget would ensure economic growth for the middle class, help maintain seniors’ active participation in society and strengthen retirement security.