Issue Summary #8 – Our Aging Population

The number of senior citizens in Canada’s population is expected to climb to 23.6 percent of the population by 2030

  • Sep. 28, 2015 12:00 p.m.

The number of senior citizens in Canada’s population is expected to climb to 23.6 percent of the population by 2030. Thats compares to 15.3 percent in 2013. The number of people over 65 is expected to increase by 3.5 times between now and 2063.

Over the coming years there will be increasing pressure on Canada’s healthcare system, and programs like the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. At the same time there will be proportionately fewer employable people in Canada to meet job market needs and drive economic growth.

What measures do you believe are necessary now to prepare for an aging population in the future?

Mark MacDonaldConservative

Our seniors are now beginning to receive benefits they’ve been paying for all their working lives, and deserve now. This makes it imperative that Canada’s stable economy continues to grow in an unstable world. In order to pay for this, seniors know we need more high paying jobs.

The Conservative government’s sound fiscal planning has ensured that Canada Pension Plan benefits are secure, and they’ve introduced a wide number of measures that help seniors. Single seniors often find it difficult to make ends meet, while couples have almost double the CPP income but share expenses like housing, utilities, etc. This needs to be addressed as well.

There are other serious issues that worry seniors: Will their grand kids be able to have a university education? Will they have a family home? Are there enough jobs here so they can watch their grand kids grow up?

They are also concerned about public security. What I’m hearing from seniors is they are thankful for the Prime Minister’s measured response regarding refugees. It’s much safer than the Liberal/NDP off-the-cuff political pronouncements to blindly open wide the doors of immigration and let anyone into Canada without proper security checks.

Seniors realize the Conservatives have a solid plan to pay for the things we all want without hanging their grand kids out to dry. One party says it will run deficits and the two other parties are either dancing with the truth by saying they aren’t running deficits, or maybe they don’t understand math. Either way, it’s very dangerous.

Paul ManlyGreen

Seniors contribute so much to our communities, both socially and economically, especially here on Vancouver Island. We need policies that support seniors’ independence, economic self-sufficiency, and social health, so they

can continue to be full and active participants in Canadian society.

Greens will ensure that seniors have income security after they retire by passing laws to protect pensions, and requiring all corporate pension plans to be audited to show they are adequately funded.

For those without adequate pensions, the Green plan for a Guaranteed Liveable Income will guarantee that no senior will live in poverty.

Many seniors want to continue working. The Green Party would end mandatory retirement and provide retirement flexible benefits for those who wish to stay in the work force.

Our plan for improving public transit will also benefit seniors, allowing them to remain independent and socially connected when they are no longer able to drive.

Although it is often said that seniors are increasing healthcare costs, that is not true. The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs are the real reason, and Greens will introduce a national Pharmacare plan, saving our healthcare system billions.

Many seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes when they need help, rather than going into long-term care. We support a balance of care model, where seniors can get the help they need through home and community support services. These services are cost-effective and provide more options for seniors and their families.

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Tim TessierLiberal

A Liberal government will take direct action to provide Canadians with a more secure retirement.

By choosing to invest in the middle class, job creation, and economic growth, we will restore fiscal responsibility to Ottawa. Investing in infrastructure is vital to creating middle class jobs today and sustained economic growth for years to come that can pay for our aging population.

Every dollar spent on public infrastructure grows and makes our economy stronger, while also creating jobs, strengthening our communities, and improving our health and quality of life.

We will work with the provinces, territories, and retiree organizations to enhance the Canada Pension Plan. Within three months of the election, the new federal Finance Minister will convene provincial and territorial counterparts to begin this work.

We will restore the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65, putting an average of $13,000 annually into the pockets of the lowest income Canadians, as they become seniors.

A Statistics Canada study found that the cost of goods typically purchased by seniors rises faster than those bought by non-senior families. We will develop a new measure for the cost of living faced by seniors: the Seniors Price Index.

We will not cut pension income splitting for seniors.

Finally, as part of a Liberal’s commitment to a new investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure, seniors’ facilities are a priority. As your elected MP I am committed that these funds build seniors housing and facilities in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Sheila MalcolmsonNDP

Caring for an aging population is one of the most significant challenges that Canada and Nanaimo-Ladysmith will face in the coming decade.

But after 10 years of Stephen Harper, it’s clear the Conservatives have the wrong priorities. The Harper Conservatives said ‘no’ to strengthening the Canada Pension Plan and raised the retirement age from 65 to 67 – taking more than $13,000 away from every senior. And they have imposed reckless, unilateral cuts to health and senior care funding, leaving hospital beds occupied by patients who don’t have another option for care.

An NDP government will provide the long-term stable funding provinces and territories need to deliver quality health care and seniors’ care. We will invest in home care for an additional 41,000 seniors, offering patient-focused care from their own homes, by the end of our first mandate. Our plan will help provinces build 5,000 more nursing home beds and improve access to palliative care and end-of-life care for Canadians’ loved ones.

The NDP will raise every Canadian’s pension by increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits and return the retirement age to 65. We can lift 200,000 seniors out of poverty by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement and help families plan for their retirement by keeping pension splitting for seniors.

It is a question of priorities. Instead of handing out tax breaks to Canada’s richest corporations, an NDP government will help seniors throughout Nanaimo-Ladysmith thrive after they retire and age with dignity.