Though the federal government announced $742 million to help seniors who were affected by GIS cuts earlier this year, North Island-Powell River MP says there are still questions left to answer.
“For me, it’s really about the devil in the details. they’ve made this announcement, but its leaving us with a lot of questions,” Blaney said.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the funding, which will be helping over 200,000 people in the country who are affected by the GIS cutbacks. However, it is unclear just which seniors that would be going to, particularly since the NDP MPs have inquired about the cost of fixing the GIS problem and were quoted a different figure.
“We asked the parliamentary budget officer about this challenge about the GIS he said they would require 430 million for around 88,000 people,” Blaney said. “So our question is, there seems to be money there, but who are the 200,000 people? Is that covering all of the people who were getting GIS? Is there going to be a one-time payment that happens retroactively? Then what happens?”
“We’re really trying to get the information out there, because we don’t want seniors to have to go through more drama and more pain. they already have gone through enough,” Blaney said. “I can think of one gentleman in particular who is 71. He was working and lost his job because of the pandemic. He has just been diagnosed with cancer and cannot afford the medication to help treat that cancer and will be evicted on the 23rd of this month. I need to know I can call those people and say ‘money is on its way, let’s make sure you don’t lose your home.’”
Elmwood-Transcona MP Daniel Blaikie, who is also critic for finance as well as employment and workforce development asked Freeland to respond to the party’s questions after the announcement was made on Tuesday.
Freeland responded by saying “the most important thing I want to do today is to reassure those seniors who I’m sure are really worried about paying their bills, that that is going to be fixed and they will be compensated for that clawback. We’re going to ensure that the compensation meets the amount of clawback for all seniors who were affected by this.”
However, Blaney and her team will be watching for the details on the rollout of these funds closely.
“Let’s see that money getting into the community as soon as possible,” she said. “We’ll be working very closely with the department on this, and I’ll be speaking with seniors to find out what they’re hearing. We need to make this happen as quickly as possible.”