'Not really a seniors' budget': Group says more can be done for retirees
Published Saturday, March 26, 2016 11:13AM EDT
The government's inaugural budget is "not really a seniors' budget," according to a prominent national advocacy group for retirees.
Wanda Morris, Vice President of Advocacy at CARP (formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons), says that while her organization is happy with the government's pledge to roll back the age of eligibility for Old Age Security benefits, she wishes the budget had done more to address the many other issues facing seniors.
"We were delighted by the rollback," Morris told CTV News Channel. "(We are) really happy with that, but concerned that more wasn't done in other areas."
Days before unveiling the budget on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would reverse the former Conservative government's plan to raise the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement age of eligibility to 67.
In addition to this, the federal budget has committed to increasing guaranteed income supplements for single seniors who are at financial risk.
Under this measure, some 900,000 single seniors earning less than $4,600 a year will see a maximum annual payment increase of $947.
Morris said these measures are "most welcome," but CARP is disappointed that the budget failed to commit to changing the Canada Pension Plan, or to introducing a national pharmacare program.
Instead, the government pledged only to hold discussions on the issues, she said.
"We'd really been hoping for some more movement on the Canada Pension Plan," Morris said. "The government talked about discussions, but no dollars were forthcoming."
Overall, Morris said, the budget does not focus on seniors.
However, she said CARP is hopeful that the government has further announcements in store.
"You know, it's not really a senior's budget," she said. "But it's got potential."
With files from CTV News' Sonja Puzic and The Canadian Press