North Island MP Rachel Blaney says supports for seniors announced on May 12 are close, but not enough. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Support for seniors ‘better than nothing’ says North Island MP

Federal government aid could go further, Blaney explains

North Island MP Rachel Blaney described the May 12 income boost for seniors announcement as “better than nothing,” adding that it falls short of what’s actually needed.

Blaney said that the funding “will not address the ongoing challenges faced by many seniors across Canada, especially during the current COVID-19 crisis.”

The federal government announced today that Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement would be increased by $300 and $200 respectively for one month, and that seniors would have until October 1 to file their taxes without it interrupting their benefits.

“Seniors in our communities have been asking for help with additional costs due to COVID-19. We’re more than two-months in and this is the first direct support announced for them,” said Blaney. “Increases like this should be permanent and ongoing to ensure no seniors in this country have to live in poverty, not a one-time-only crisis benefit.”

During her first term as MP, Blaney was the NDP spokesperson for seniors issues. She has spoken about increasing OAS and GIS rates before the crisis, and had introduced a bill in 2019 that would give seniors a one year grace period for filing their taxes before GIS payments would be suspended.

The timing and tax status of the payments outlined in the announcement had not been confirmed as of May 12.

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