January 30th, 2022
Liberal government finally taking action to fix their mistake and support Island seniors facing homelessness
After months of advocacy from the NDP, this is a long overdue step for seniors on Vancouver Island who rely on the GIS
VICTORIA – With the skyrocketing cost of housing on the south island, it has been harder for people in the region to make ends meet in recent months. This is especially true for the most vulnerable seniors in the region who were cut off the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) that they rely on to pay for their housing and other necessities last fall. For months, the NDP called on the Liberal government to fix their mistake that devastated Canadian seniors and finally, this week, the government announced that seniors cut off from their GIS would receive a one-time payment in April with emergency funds available to those in dire financial circumstances as early as March.
“I have heard from countless seniors living in Victoria who have been desperately looking for help after losing the GIS benefits they relied on to get by. During the last six years of this Liberal government, housing has become even more unaffordable for people living in Victoria. On top of that, the government cut help to our poorest seniors who were already struggling to afford housing, food and medicine," said Victoria MP Laurel Collins. “New Democrats didn’t relent. We called out the government for months and seniors are finally getting the help they need.”
Between 2015 and 2020, the cost of renting Victoria increased by almost 35 per cent, pushing it out of reach for many and making it impossible for seniors who lost a significant portion of their income to afford. New Democrats heard from seniors who were living out of their cars because they lost their GIS and could no longer afford their rent.
“At the start of the pandemic the Prime Minister promised he would have Canadians’ backs. Instead, he punished the most vulnerable seniors in our communities for taking the help they qualified for,” said the MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, Randal Garrison. “The Liberals should have never put seniors in such a dangerous situation in the first place.”
The federal government had announced that they would provide an emergency payment to seniors cut off the GIS during the fiscal update last fall, but many Canadians were shocked and dismayed to learn the financial help wouldn't be available until May. New Democrats advocated for more urgent help for more than 183,000 seniors that were left behind by the government's claw back.
“I am glad this unnecessary ordeal for seniors in our community is finally over. The pandemic has just been devastating for our country's seniors and, instead of getting extra support, they had the GIS help cut from them for accessing the pandemic aid they desperately needed,” added Cowichwan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. “New Democrats will always do everything possible to get people the help they need.”