Canada’s Programs & Services for Seniors
Aging is a process that everybody will experience, and it usually comes with lots of difficulties. To help the elderly overcome their problems and spend their later years with utmost security and safety, the Canadian government provides various services and programs to cater to the needs of the elderly. This article will review some of the Canadian government’s services to help seniors.
- 1 Canada Pension Plan
- 2 Guaranteed Income Supplement
- 3 Old Age Security Services for Seniors
- 4 Caregiving Benefit
- 5 International Social Security Agreements
- 6 Tax Measure Services for Seniors
- 7 Increasing the Awareness of the Elderly about Financial Issues
- 8 Aging in a Social Environment
- 9 Healthy Aging: One of the Services for Seniors
Canada Pension Plan
These services are provided monthly to the Canadian elderly and are a taxable benefit paid to seniors after retirement. If eligible, the seniors will receive the pension for the rest of their lives. Some conditions need to be met to be qualified for the pension plan, which is as follows:
- To have at least 60 years of age
- Making at least one contribution to the pension plan
The registration to this plan is not automatic, and your need to apply to have your pension paid. The month that you register for the pension will be the beginning of your payment. The average monthly pension paid for seniors older than 60 and registered in the plan is $679.16.
Guaranteed Income Supplement
This is also one of the monthly payment services for seniors that is paid on the following conditions:
- Being older than 65
- Living in Canada
- Having Old Age Security (OAS)
- Having income less than S18,600
The Guaranteed Income Supplement is intended to help the elderly with low salaries, and We should note that the paid amount is not taxable. In most cases, the retirement organization automatically registers you for this service, and you will be informed by a letter sent to you the month after your 64th birthday. You are not automatically registered in some cases, and you need to apply.
Old Age Security Services for Seniors
You can receive this only if you are older than 65. Service Canada will automatically register you for this security payment. The registration will be informed by a letter sent to your address. The maximum amount you can receive in this pension is $613.53 a month. We should note that the amount you can receive is based on the duration of your citizenship in Canada after the age of 18, and only individuals with an income less than $18,600 will be eligible to receive the payment.
Employment insurance enables the family members to get a payment equal to 55% of their weekly income to take care of the elderly who need end-of-life care. Caregiving Benefit is available if a senior is diagnosed by a doctor and has a severe disease with a death risk in 6 months. The maximum amount of the payment is $573 for a week. Therefore there is no need to be living beside the elderly to support them and be eligible for this benefit. Still, there should be a familial connection between you and the elderly.
International Social Security Agreements
Canada’s government considers these agreements to provide social security services for seniors equal to the elderly living in other countries. Currently, the number of social security agreements in Canada is over 50. These agreements enabled the seniors to receive more than 200,000 foreign pensions, not previously included in Canada’s pension laws. In recent years, Canada has entered new agreements with Bulgaria, India, and Serbia, and it has also revised parts of its contracts with France and Norway.
Read More: How to Help Seniors Feel Useful and Happy
Tax Measure Services for Seniors
As noted earlier, Canada’s government provides direct financial facilities for the seniors living in this country. Still, there have been several amendments in tax measures for the elderly to help them have a better life quality. The Canadian government introduced these amendments in 2005, reducing the taxes that the elderly had to pay. The result of these changes was a $2.7 billion tax reduction.
Some of the measures taken by the Canadian government are as follows:
- The Age Credit: This facility is for Canadians over the age of 65 and has increased 2000 dollars, and about 5 million seniors of Canada are receiving it since 2012.
- Pension Income Tax Credit: In the year 2006, the highest amount allowed went up to 2000 dollars, and around 4.5m people are using this service at the moment.
Increasing the Awareness of the Elderly about Financial Issues
During the past few years, Canada’s government has started various services to increase the awareness and knowledge of seniors about their financial options. The Canada Revenue Agency has created different videos about retirement plans and taxes, and seniors can easily find the data they may need at any time.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) also started different programs to increase financial literacy. It educates the elderly about their rights to provide a secure financial condition.
Working After Retirement
Aging is not always synonymous with being unable to move and work. There are various jobs available for seniors in Canada. The government believes that an active lifestyle can increase the independence of the elderly and help them maintain their health. Being an active part of society also helps them manage different health conditions they face. The percentage of seniors working in society has increased from 6% in 2000 to 13% in 2013.
The retirement system of Canada provides various choices for those who like to continue their jobs after retirement. The system can also propose other job opportunities that suit the age and condition of the elderly.
Aging in a Social Environment
The death of the spouse or leaving of the children has left most seniors on their own. It has engendered various psychosocial problems, such as isolation. The government of Canada has recently introduced social housing to create a friendly community for seniors. These enable them to be socially and physically active and retain a sense of livelihood in their old age during the day.
The government has various plans to help the elderly age in their own houses. These plans provide places for needy seniors, and during the last five years, the government has spent more than $1.25 billion on delivering affordable housing centers.
Healthy Aging: One of the Services for Seniors
Canadian seniors are suffering from various falls every year. The statistics suggest that 20-30% of seniors are experiencing at least one fall during the year, which can cause multiple disabilities, lack of independence, or even death. Government officials have started various services to educate seniors to prevent injuries caused by falling. PHAC has published several pamphlets regarding preventing injuries of the seniors, some of which are as follows:
- Safe Living Guide: A guide to home safety for seniors
- You can Prevent Falls
- Stair Safety at Home
The bottom line is
The elderly population of Canada is increasing. Along with this increase, we witness an increase in people who have Alzheimer‘s disease and other mental health-related issues such as dementia. The government of Canada and the Alzheimer Society of Canada have estimated that in 2031 the number will increase to 1.4 million while it was around 747000 in 2011. Older adults are suffering from these mental issues, but their families also experience difficulties managing them. The Canadian government is working to increase the knowledge and awareness about seniors’ mental health.