Help is on the way for seniors affected by the Guaranteed Income Supplement cutback six months ago.
On Monday during Question Period in the House of Commons, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney asked the federal government to support seniors who need money sooner than the previously announced date of May.
“New Democrats have been asking this government since before the last election to fix this problem. Finally the minister announced a one-time payment, but it’s not until May,” Blaney said during Question Period. “Seniors are in desperate need now to stave off hunger and eviction. Again I am asking, will the minister support seniors at risk and immediately release emergency funds?”
The question prompted Seniors Minister Kamal Khera to respond, saying “we both share a deep desire to support those most at need seniors. I am very pleased to share that we are now going to be able to deliver payments to those who saw GIS reduced ahead of schedule as early as April 19.
“Service Canada will also be working with members of parliament to help constituents in dire need to get support sooner, in March, and we will continue to be there to support seniors with our increases in pension funds,” Khera said.
The federal government had announced that they would provide an emergency payment to seniors cut off the GIS during the fiscal update last fall, but the initial announcement was that financial help wouldn’t be available until May. MPs Blaney and the NDP finance critic, Daniel Blaikie, advocated for more urgent help for more than 183,000 seniors affected.
“Seniors can finally breathe a sigh of relief after going through a horrible, unnecessary ordeal,” said Rachel Blaney. “For months, I have been hearing the most heartbreaking stories from vulnerable seniors who felt abandoned by this government. The pandemic has just been devastating for our country’s seniors and, instead of getting extra support, they had the GIS help cut from them for accessing the pandemic aid they desperately needed. New Democrats spoke out against this injustice from the beginning and I’m so happy to see that the government is finally taking action to fix their mistake.”