Island MP pushes grace period for seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has tabled a bill to prevent seniors from being cut off their pensions for not filing taxes on time.

The NDP Seniors Critic has heard from numerous pensioners who are late with their taxes because of illness, either to themselves or their spouse. Come July, the penalty is a temporary suspension of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

“Something happens in their life, and they don’t get their taxes in on time,” Blaney said.

The first call her office received came from a woman in her mid-80s who was facing eviction because she wasn’t receiving her GIS, which paid a significant portion of her rent. Blaney’s office managed to have the woman’s GIS re-instated, and assured her landlord the money would be there.

“When I became the Seniors Critic, we were getting calls from all over the country about this issue. What we could see very clearly is 30,000-plus seniors lost their GIS, and by October they were mostly re-instated. For those low-income people, it’s up to four months without their Guaranteed Income Supplement, which can make it very hard to even survive.”

Blaney’s bill aims to give GIS recipients a one-year grace period if unable to file taxes by deadline.

It also requires Employment and Social Development Canada employees to reach out to affected seniors to assist them through the process.

“Of course if they continue not doing their taxes, that’s going to be a problem,” Blaney said. “After a year, they will eventually lose it. But this is for the seniors in this country, the vast majority who, for one reason or another, can’t get their taxes in on time. This will help tens of thousands of seniors, keep them out of dire straits in terms of poverty, and give them a little more time to deal with these issues as they face the challenges they face…It’s a very simple solution to a very important issue.”

The next step is to discuss the matter with Seniors Minister Filamena Tassi. Blaney hopes the Liberals will “take this under their wing” and implement her plan.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

– North Island Gazette staff

Just Posted

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealand trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

CAMERON: Sometimes you’ve just got to do the right thing

Practical jokes and the art of being fast on your feet

T.W. Paterson column: McLean brothers’ murderous rampage ended quietly

“Shoot! you son of a ——-, shoot! I’m not afraid of an ounce of lead.”

Tour de Rock riders on bikes to race Nanaimo firefighters on old-fashioned pump car

Cops for Cancer fundraiser will happen Sept. 30 as annual fundraising ride getting underway

Victoria program inspires Polish student to create cigarette butt calculator

Warsaw civil engineering student creates cleanup counter to track efforts

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read