CANADA’S SENIOR POPULATION
We know that the aging of our population is not unique but rather reflects a worldwide trend. In Canada, the senior population is large, with almost 6 million people who are 65 years old or older. In less than 20 years, the number of seniors could reach over 10 million people, which will represent 25 percent of our total population.
While I celebrate the fact that we are living longer than ever before, I am also mindful that many seniors are still at risk of not continuing to live with dignity and respect.
The Government of Canada has already acted to improve seniors’ economic well-being. Vulnerable single seniors are receiving a top-up on their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and couples receiving the GIS but living apart for reasons beyond their control will receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement is moving forward to help seniors of tomorrow. Finally, the Government has restored the eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the GIS to age 65 from age 67.
CONTINUING TO LISTEN
Last fall, along with my colleague the Honourable Jane Philpott, I held a roundtable discussion with academics and practitioners to hear about current and emerging issues facing older Canadians. A number of overarching themes presented themselves, including:
We all agreed that, to address these challenges and opportunities effectively, we need to have a collaborative approach to bring together multiple levels of government, organizations representing seniors, and seniors themselves to sustain regular engagement.
Along with the experts’ suggestions, I will continue to champion measures such as
poverty reduction, affordable housing, more generous and flexible leave for caregivers, and the CPP enhancement moving forward with provincial and territorial approvals.
I am grateful for their suggestions on how the Government of Canada can help improve inclusion and reduce barriers, as well as stay informed and engaged on seniors’ issues over time. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with Canadians in order that the Government of Canada can deliver on its promise to support seniors to continue to thrive socially and economically.
© 2017 Jean-Yves Duclos. All rights reserved.