Members from Winnipeg senior citizens and seniors groups came together for a virtual town hall on seniors’ issues during COVID‑19 with Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors. The town hall focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic within their demographic and brought forward the government’s support to help seniors during this challenging time.
In July 2020, seniors were given a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for OAS and a further $200 for seniors eligible for the GIS. This helped 6.7 million seniors cover the increased costs caused by COVID-19. The 2.2 million seniors who received both OAS and GIS will get a total of $500 in tax-free support. With the GST Credit top-up, that’s over $1,500 for low-income senior couples.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program brought tens of millions of additional funding support delivered through 2000 community projects that reduced isolation, improved seniors’ quality of life and help seniors maintain a social support network during the pandemic. The Wellness Together Portal was a key resource that has helped thousands of seniors mitigate loneliness and isolation.
The new Safe Long-Term Care Fund allocates $1 billion to help provinces and territories protect seniors in long-term care and supports infection prevention, ventilation improvements and staffing.
To address acute labour shortages in long-term care and home care, we will support training 4,000 personal support worker interns through an accelerated online program and 4-month work placement. Colleges and Institutes Canada will also begin a national dialogue on training standards.