After a lifetime of hard work, Canadians deserve a secure retirement. That’s why we have taken meaningful action to support seniors and increase their opportunities to maintain a good quality of living. On July 18 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, will become Minister of Seniors. This new ministry will be 100 per cent focused on helping the Government better understand the needs of Canadian seniors, and ensuring that programs and services are developed that respond to Canada's aging population. This will provide Canadian seniors and future retirees greater security and a better quality of life.
Starting in 2019, the Canada Pension Plan will be gradually enhanced. The enhanced CPP will put up to 50 per cent more into the pockets of retirees. That’s up to $7,000 more per year, so that more Canadians can actually retire at 65.
When we were elected in 2015, we kept our promise to restore the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65. This is putting thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors. To help lift thousands of low-income seniors out of poverty, we increased the GIS top-up so that single seniors can receive up to $1,000 more per year. This is helping nearly 900,000 vulnerable seniors across Canada. With the increases we’ve made to both OAS and GIS, a senior in Canada can now receive up to $1,700 more per year compared to before we were in government. This is making a huge difference in seniors’ lives, ensuring they can enjoy the secure and dignified retirement they deserve.
We will continue to invest in Canadian seniors. One example of these investments is the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This program focuses on empowering seniors, encouraging them to share their knowledge, skills, and experience with others in the community, and enhancing social well-being and community vitality.
In May Columbus Place, a centre that provides housing for senior citizens in Fort Frances, received funding through New Horizons to renovate their kitchen, which has since become a social hub for the community. I was honoured to be there at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new kitchen, and want to thank and congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!
New Horizons grants also help protect seniors through funding to the Community Elder Abuse Prevention Committee and connect seniors through the Age Friendly Giants Program.
Finally, our government has committed to investing more than $6 billion dollars over the following 10 years to enable provinces and territories to improve access to home care services. This will increase access to home-based palliative care and community-based care and allow seniors to stay independent for longer.
Through consultations across the country we heard from Canadians that caregivers also need support to continue to provide care to their relatives in need. This is why we created the new Canada Caregiver Credit, which makes it easier for Canadians to take time off work to care for a sick or elderly relative. Also, to protect Canadians, particularly seniors, from excessive drug prices, we have amended the rules around patented drug prices for the first time in over 20 years.
We will continue to make investments that will help close the gaps in our system and ensure that every senior in Canada is cared for, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts these investments will have on our community.