Announcing additional support for seniors
Before I start, I would like to begin by acknowledging that, earlier this morning, Minister Gould announced a new contribution to the Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
These organizations provide vaccines to those who are most vulnerable all around the world and save millions of lives.
More recently, GAVI has also been helping developing countries to respond to outbreaks of diseases like COVID-19.
Once we have found a vaccine, GAVI will help distribute it to those who need it.
This is good news because, in our interconnected world, to end the pandemic in Canada, we have to end it everywhere.
Before we get into things, I want to note that earlier this morning, Minister Gould announced a significant contribution to the Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
These organizations deliver vaccines to some of the world’s most vulnerable, saving millions of lives. Most recently, GAVI is also helping developing countries build capacity to respond to disease outbreaks like COVID-19.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, GAVI will help get it to the people who need it.
And that will keep us all safer. Because in our interconnected world, to end this pandemic for good in Canada, we have to end it everywhere.
As we know all too well, the last few weeks have been especially difficult for our seniors and their families.
Our parents and our grandparents are more at risk of catching COVID-19 and of suffering the worst consequences of it.
All across the country, long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, exposing the flaws in a system that must be strengthened.
But the challenges that the pandemic presents to seniors are not limited to what is happening in long-term care facilities and residences.
The lockdown is weighing heavily on seniors all across the country.
They are spending a lot of time alone, separated from their families.
And because they have to avoid going out as much as possible, they cannot use transit.
They are relying on delivery services to get their groceries and this often means they cannot take advantage of in-store sales.
This is hard on their morale and on their finances.
So today, our government is announcing measures to help our seniors get through this crisis.
First, if you receive Old Age Security, you will receive an additional $300 to help with the additional costs you’ve had to cover because of COVID-19.
This means that nearly 7 million people across the country will be receiving more money in the coming weeks.
To help our most vulnerable seniors, we will also be providing an additional $200 to all those who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
This means that if you receive both Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you will be receiving an additional $500.
Our government will also be proving an additional $20 million to the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
We had made changes to the program a few weeks ago to allow affiliated agencies to adapt their services to the realities of the pandemic and to help seniors stay connected to their families.
So we are again investing in the program to offer more activities, fight the isolation of seniors, and improve their quality of life.
Today, our government is announcing new measures to support seniors during this pandemic.
First, if you’re receiving Old Age Security, you will get an additional $300 to offset some of the extra costs you’ve had to cover because of the virus.
This means that, across the country, almost 7 million seniors will get help that they need.
And to better support the most vulnerable seniors, we will also give an extra $200 to people who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
So, if you’re receiving both OAS and GIS, you will get an additional $500 in total to help you.
Our government is also investing an additional $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
A few weeks ago, we boosted funding so that organizations could provide delivery services and help seniors stay in touch with family during the pandemic.
So, we’re making another investment today to create more programs to help isolated seniors and improve their quality of life.
Now, there’s no question that COVID-19 has been taking its toll on seniors both emotionally and financially.
And with today’s announcement, our government is taking action to alleviate some of the stress they may be feeling.
But there’s a lot more work to be done not only to find short-term fixes, but long-term solutions.
COVID-19 has exposed some uncomfortable truths about our society, including how we care for seniors in Canada.
We’ve seen heartbreaking tragedies in long-term care facilities and nursing homes right across the country.
Overworked staff. Understaffed residences. Grieving families.
There are serious, underlying challenges facing these facilities. And in the coming months, the federal government will be there to help the provinces find lasting solutions.
Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve witnessed heartbreaking scenes in long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences across the country.
Overworked staff. Overcrowded residences. Grieving families.
These establishments are facing significant challenges and, in the coming months, the federal government will be there to help the provinces address them.
Every Canadian—no matter where they live or what they do—has a role to play in supporting our seniors during this pandemic.
It starts with following public health recommendations.
You know the drill—staying home, washing our hands, and keeping a safe distance from others when we go out.
That’s how we can protect the physical health of our parents and grandparents during this pandemic, but let’s not forget about their mental health.
A lot of people—especially single seniors—are feeling really lonely right now.
So, call your grandparents. Ask them how their day is going, how they’re doing, and how you can help.
Consider writing a letter or a postcard to isolated seniors, or volunteer with a local organization to fight the isolation of seniors.
We need to be there for those who have built this country for the rest of us and that’s what Canadians will continue to do.
And together, we will get through this.