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Brooklyn Neustaeter CTVNews.ca Writer | Published Friday, April 8, 2022
The federal government unveiled its highly-anticipated spring budget on Thursday, which proposes an additional $20 million to support Canadian seniors.
The government says it will allocate that $20 million over two years, starting in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, to expand the New Horizons for Seniors Program to raise the quality of community participation for seniors.
The initiative is a federal grants and contributions program that provides funding for community projects that aim to make a difference in the lives of seniors, such as volunteerism and mentorship.
With the budget focused on making life more affordable, the federal government says it will continue to assess any further increases to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and look at expanding other benefit programs for seniors.
As of 2016, the federal government has reverted the age eligibility for GIS and Old Age Security (OAS) to 65 from 67, and has implemented a 10 per cent increase to the maximum GIS benefit for single seniors.
The government says it will also implement a 10 per cent increase to the OAS pension for seniors age 75 and older beginning this July. According to the budget, this will provide additional benefits of over $766 to full pensioners in the first year.
In addition, the federal government says it will create an expert panel to study the idea of an Aging at Home Benefit. The panel will report to the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health, with more details on the panel to be released.
As more of Canada’s population ages, many may be looking to stay in their homes longer. With this in mind, the 2022 federal budget proposes doubling the qualifying expense limit of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to $20,000 for the 2022 and subsequent tax years.
The budget notes this will create a tax credit of up to $3,000, an increase of up to $1,500, for seniors looking to make accessibility renovations to their houses so they can safely remain at home longer.
One of the big-ticket items in the budget is a proposal to establish a national dental care plan, which the Liberals had already agreed to prioritize following the signing of their confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP.
The government has assigned $5.3 billion to Health Canada over the next five years to oversee implementation of the dental care plan, which will be expanded to include seniors in 2023.