Seniors poverty rate on the rise in Canada: says new report

Broadbent Institute
New Report from Broadbent Institute by Richard Shillington

An Analysis of the Economic Circumstances of Canadian Seniors shows a stark picture of inadequate savings and growing poverty, and offers a clear baseline of evidence for the government to expand the Canada Pension Plan.
As the Liberal government prepares to table its first budget, the twin challenges of ensuring adequate retirement security and reducing seniors’ poverty are coming into sharp focus.
Take a look at just a few of the staggering findings in our new report or read the Globe and Mail story:

$3,000: The overall median value of retirement assets of near seniors aged 55-64 without an employer pension.

55% of Canadians aged 55–64 with no employer pension benefits have less than one year’s worth of savings.

$5,600: The spread for single seniors between the OAS/GIS guarantee levels and the low-income poverty measure for 2015 – the spread that seniors need to fill using the Canada or Quebec pension plans (CPP/QPP), private pensions and private savings.

28% of single female seniors and 24% of single male seniors are living in poverty in this country.

We now know the panoply of public policies offering “voluntary” options for saving — such as RRSPs, TFSAs, group RPPs, and pooled Registered Pension Plans — are not addressing the shortcomings in declining workplace pensions and inadequate public pensions.

In the short term, the Guaranteed Income Supplement must be boosted for all seniors, not just singles. And there should be no debate that the CPP needs to be expanded! Help us spread the word by sharing this report or one of the social sharables below.

Friday Feb 12. CAUS at Granny Power film in Toronto

Follow several passionate,
activist grandmothers as they fight for peace, social justice and the environment!

With disarming smiles, biting lyrics, flowery hats, and a gift for inventive, off-the-wall protest, they challenge authorities and stereotypes alike. Their movement, started in Canada 28 years ago, has become international. They are deflating clichés about aging and proving that life can be lived to its fullest, in a meaningful way, to the end. They show up, invited or not, at demonstrations, rallies and political events. They are the Raging Grannies, and they fight for peace, social justice and the environment.

Followed by a discussion on senior’s activism and advocating for senior’s issues:

Phyllis Creighton – one of the original Toronto Raging Grannies

Sheila Neysmith – professor of Social Work (emerita), U of Toronto

John Anderson – coordinator, Canadian Alliance of United Seniors

Cinema Politica Toronto-Danforth invites you to a screening of


This Friday, February 12 – 7:30 pm

St. David’s Anglican Church
49 Donlands Avenue


Ontario Seniors Housing: Too Few and Too Expensive

Ontario Seniors Housing:  Too Few and Too Expensive

Presented by John Anderson CAUS at the discussion in Ottawa, Ontario

on the 2016 Budget of the Ontario Government

Delta Ottawa City Centre, Ottawa, Ontario


January 15, 2016

Canada and Ontario’s population is aging rapidly. Estimates from Statcan show that by July 1 2015, for the first time, there were more persons aged 65 years and older in Canada than children aged 0 to 14 years. Nearly one in six Canadians (16.1%)—a record 5,780,900 Canadians—was at least 65 years old, compared with 5,749,400 children aged 0 to 14 years (16.0%).

According to the most recent population projections, the share of persons aged 65 years and older will continue to increase.  It should account for 20.1% of the population on July 1, 2024.The absolute numbers of seniors will double from 5.8 million in 2015 to some 10.1 million in 2035.  By 2051 roughly one in four Canadians is expected to be 65 or over.

Seniors need two kinds of help around housing. Most seniors will need some kind of help to stay in their own housing. This presentation will not concentrate on this very important issue which CAUS has presented on before and is available on our website Rather with the limited time available I will concentrate on the issue of specialized housing for seniors.

In Canada, there are, according to the annual study (2015) by CMHC ( , only a total of 224,342 spaces for seniors in Canada. Just less than half of these spaces are in Quebec (111,973). This represents in Quebec a rate of 18.5% of seniors over 75 in seniors’ homes. In Ontario, which has one of the poorest rates of only 5.2%, there are only a total of 53,680 spaces! This is less than half of Quebec’s total and less third of the rate of Quebec. The overall Canadian rate for over 75s is 8.9% which is still very low but much higher than that for Ontario.

But it is not just the number of spaces but the cost of this housing that is bad for Ontario seniors. The average rent for bachelor units or private rooms, where at least one meal is included, is now $2,107 per month in Canada. In Ontario, however, the average rent is $2815 per month, one of the highest rates. Compare this to Quebec where the rate is only $1521 per month.

Even more unacceptable are the rents per month for seniors in Ottawa ($3134) and  Toronto ($3198). What this means is that even if they need seniors housing, only very well off seniors will be able to get housing in these cities.

Ontario is thus way behind Quebec, and also behind the Canadian average, and needs a major investment in seniors’ housing. Just to catch up with Quebec would require building some 127,673 new units to have the same rate as they do in Quebec and then with the seniors population increasing from 16% now to 25% by 2051, would demand another major increase of more than 50% of this figure.