Seniors Vote: New National Pre-Budget Voice for Seniors Organizations

Seniors Vote – FULL SET




To all Ministers of Finance and Opposition Finance Critics

Seniors Vote is a collaboration of seniors, retirees, professional and advocacy groups raising common concerns which particularly resonate with older Canadians – financial security in retirement and healthcare reform. The attached details the recommendations for the upcoming federal budget and our priority issues for the 2015 federal election.

It is now common knowledge that older Canadians are the most committed voters; 65% or more of older voters turnout to vote regularly. Older Canadians are also among the most politically engaged voters whose past party loyalty cannot be taken for granted. This has led all political parties to ask:

“What do seniors want?”

And the answer has been the call for the kind of transformative change in our public systems that will make life better for all Canadians as they age. Many such reforms will only benefit future generations.

Seniors Vote calls for pension reform to ensure that people will not outlive their money by expanding access to pension savings and increasing income support.

The call for healthcare reform demands that Canadians not be treated as health consumers or merely patients, but rather as “healthcare citizens” who pay for the system and expect it to serve the broad values set out in the Canada Health Act – universality, accessibility and comprehensiveness. To do this, the healthcare system must undergo transformative change and centre itself around the needs and expectations of the healthcare citizen, to not only provide medical intervention but also support prevention and social determinants of health, the family caregiver and end of life care.

Seniors want to stay in their own homes but too often programs like homecare are not there for them to do so. There is a need for a national housing strategy that includes seniors housing. Access to affordable and suitable housing is a major determinant of health, an instrument to reduce poverty and a critical component of age-friendly communities.

Income inequality is growing in Canada. More seniors are falling below the poverty line. Seniors are also concerned that too many of their children and grandchildren are facing precarious work and a bleak future.

It is clear that Seniors indeed vote. This sets out what Seniors will vote for. Today’s ballot questions are the blueprint for our children’s tomorrow.

1.Income and Retirement Security

Achieving income security in working life and retirement is increasingly difficult for Canadians of all ages.

  • Nearly 5 million Canadians live in poverty
  • 12 percent of seniors still live in poverty, amounting to more 600,000 people
  • 1 in 6 single seniors live in poverty, most of whom are women
  • Twelve million working Canadians do not have workplace pension plans and significant number of Canadians will face a substantial drop in their standard of living on retirement
  • Younger working Canadians will have especially limited access to workplace pensions

Seniors Vote calls on the federal government to:

Work with provinces to increase the CPP

  • Strengthen income support by
  • Restoring the OAS eligibility age to 65 from 67
  •  Increase the exempt earnings band for GIS
  • Increasing the amount of OAS and GIS for low income seniors
  • Increase income supports for low-income single older Canadians not yet eligible for OAS by creating an equivalent to the OAS spousal allowance
  • Prohibit retroactive erosion of earned pension benefits

Federal Leadership on Healthcare Transformation

Healthcare remains the highest priority for Canadians who are calling for transformative change.• Older Canadians and their families find the system inadequate to the task of meeting their postacute and chronic care needs, very difficult to navigate, and incomplete

•Over 8 million caregivers provide invaluable support to family members and the formal health system, without adequate support from employers and government

•Poverty, social isolation, a poor physical environment, and inadequate housing leads to poor health outcomes. Investments in prevention and in the social determinants of health could save the system money and produce better health outcomes for Canadians

• Transforming the healthcare system to better work for all Canadians requires federal leadership

Seniors Vote calls on the federal government to:

  •  Work with the provinces to create a national pharmacare plan, with an ultimate goal of first dollar coverage for all Canadians
  • Work with the provinces to fund and set standards to improve access, affordability, and quality of post-acute and chronic care, in the home and in the community, with particular focus on dementia care
  • Increase financial support and provide workplace protection for caregivers
  •  Work with the provinces to ensure every Canadian has access to housing appropriate to need, including affordable and supportive housing, and assisted living services

Seniors Vote is endorsed by:

National Pensioners Federation (NPF)     National advocacy organization of seniors groups and individuals

CARP  National advocacy organization for older Canadians

Réseau FADOQ Quebec Seniors advocacy organization

Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) Union retirees across Canada

International Federation on Aging (IFA) International advocacy NGO

College of Family Physicians of Canada  Family physicians across Canada

CURAC National college and university retiree organizations

National Association of Federal Retirees Retired public servants, veterans and RCMP

Canadian Association of Retired Teachers (ACER-CART) Retired teachers from 10 provinces and Yukon territory

Canadian Alliance of United Seniors (CAUS) Seniors organization

Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO)  Advocacy group for 75+ BC seniors’ organizations

Professional Institute of the Public Sector  of Canada  Government scientists and professionals

Service Employees International Union Retirees (SEIU) Retired Healthcare workers

Communications Workers of Canada Retirees Council Communications industry retirees

Unifor Retirees Retired workers from a cross section of industries across Canada

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Retired Steelworkers and spouses

Police Pensioners Association of Ontario (PPAO) Retired police and civilians

Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR) Ontario retirees

Retired Members Division of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Retired Ontario public employees

PEI Federation of Union Retirees PEI retirees

Saskatchewan Seniors Association Incorporated (SSAI) Saskatchewan Seniors

Saskatchewan Union Retirees Federation  Saskatchewan retirees

BC Federation of Retired Union Members  BC retirees

Alberta Federation of Union Retirees Alberta retirees

Nova Scotia Government Retired Employees Association (NSGREA) Retired Nova Scotia public servants

Nova Scotia Federation of Union Retirees Nova Scotia retirees

Federation of Senior Citizens and Pensioners of Nova Scotia (FSCPNS) Nova Scotia seniors

New Brunswick Federation of Union Retirees New Brunswick retirees

Manitoba Federation of Union Retirees Manitoba retirees

British Columbia Teachers Union Retirees Retired BC school teachers

The Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ERO) College, university, school faculty and support staff

Social Services Network (SSN) Social services agency serving South Asian community in York region

CUPE Ontario-Retirees-Network Retired Ontario public employees

Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic Legal Aid Clinic

Toronto and York Region Labour Council    Toronto and York Region unionized workers and Families

Colour of Poverty/Colour of Change Network (COPC) Ontario anti-poverty, anti-racism network

Toronto Retirees Network Toronto based retirees Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC)

Toronto and York Region Council (T&YR Council) Toronto and York Region retirees

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) ARM Chp 9, 11,12

Retired High school teachers and support staff in Toronto, Windsor and London

National Union Action on Retiree Concerns\ National Union of Provincial Government Employees (NUPGE) National association of provincial employees

Plus a growing number of regional and local groups


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