NATIONAL

Liberals knowingly cut supports for seniors at brink of poverty; plan for election instead of a fix : Scott Duvall

@ Sadia Haque
Seniors across the country have been shocked to learn that the benefits they rely on have been cut, either partially or entirely, after receiving pandemic supports such as CERB. New Democrats are demanding that the Liberal government address this devastating policy now so that vulnerable seniors aren’t forced into a desperate situation. Just as panic is rising and many more seniors are now contacting their Members of Parliament in desperation, the Liberals are planning a selfish election.
On Thursday, the NDP Critic for Seniors, Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain), along with his colleagues, Critic for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood–Transcona), Critic for National Revnue Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre) and MP Jack Harris (St. John’s East), wrote to Liberal Ministers Schulte, Qualtrough and Lebouthillier, bringing the issue to their attention and asking them to find an immediate solution.
“Some of Canada’s most vulnerable seniors, those living on low incomes who receive supports such as Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) have had this taken away after receiving the CERB supports they qualified. This has had a knock-on effect to other benefits for low-income seniors including the Ontario Guaranteed Annual income System (GAINS), the Seniors Citizen’s Tax Reduction benefit in St. John’s and the Senior’s Supplement in B.C.,” said Duvall. “Our offices have been made aware that seniors are even losing out on significant discounts from companies including that on reoccurring billing options from service providers for those who can provide proof of GIS. Subsidized housing will also be affected sadly, as the income they have to report affects them for the next year of rent payments. So they get whacked twice, GIS and rent supplements.”
For over a year, New Democrats have been fighting so that all seniors receive additional financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government continues to refuse to help. While the Liberals rushed to give money to the richest corporations without any strings attached, they cut help for seniors who are waiting to work again in provinces still under stay-at-home orders and lockdowns.
It has recently come to light that the Liberal government was aware of how CERB and GIS would interact as far back as 2020, choosing to let seniors pay the price instead of doing the right thing. This is wrong.
“Seniors have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Now more than ever, they need a government that is fighting for them, not one that will knowingly put them in a precarious situation” said Blaikie. “New Democrats are committed to working with the government to fix this immediately, even if that means returning to Parliament. The expected upcoming election will mean that this issue remains unfixed, forcing seniors to make tough decisions.”
Seniors deserve a government that is ready to give them the help they need, when they need it. New Democrats are the ones to do it.

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