2015 saw the Liberals secure a majority government with a sweeping win in October’s election. When any new government comes to power, many people can be rightly concerned as to how new policies will affect them. This is especially true of seniors living in Alberta.
What impact could be felt for those who are receiving a pension?
Recent studies have shown that there has been a growing trend among Canada’s low income seniors, specifically that their income will be further reduced. Low income is described as an income of less than half of the average income of similar sized households.
This means that over the past few years, the income of seniors in Alberta and those in assisted living facilities has not grown in line with the income of average Canadian households. The reason for this is that pensions are linked to inflation, which has been very low. But, in general, wage increase beyond the rate of inflation.
The new Liberal government has promised to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by 10%. This change will take place in the fiscal year starting in 2016. This means that low income seniors will be better off under the new plans.
Another initiative that will be a benefit to Alberta’s seniors is that Justin Trudeau has promised to keep pension income splitting for seniors. A price index for seniors will also come into effect so that their pensions and benefits can keep up with the rising cost of living.
One other change to the pension system is that the government will reverse the previous decision to increase the pension age. This will be brought back to 65 years of age.
Although these initiatives hold promise, only time will tell how these new pension changes will benefit Alberta’s seniors and those who are in assisted living communities.