Nov 14, 2022

By Christine Ross

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The Ford government has outlined help for low income seniors in its fall economic statement.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy is proposing to temporarily double the payments low income seniors get thru the Guaranteed Annual Income System for one year starting in January 2023.

He’s proposing to temporarily double the payments low income seniors get thru the Guaranteed Annual Income System  for one year starting in January 2023 to a maximum of $166 a month for singles and $332 for couples, a move that will impact 200,000 seniors.

“For too many low income seniors, covering day-to-day costs has become a source of anxiety,” said Bethlenfalvy. “Seniors built this province and we owe them all a debt of gratitude so thank you.”

“In an era of inflation and rising costs, the most vulnerable seniors getting the first dollars, is a very good thing,” said Chief Membership Officer David Cravit with the Zoomer Advocacy group CARP.

The Tories are extending a 5.7 cent per litre gas tax cut for another year and those on Ontario Disability Support Payments can earn more before their supports are clawed back.

But there was no mention of new healthcare spending amid a crisis at Ontario hospitals, something the NDP says misses the mark.

“This government’s economic update comes on the heels of a multi billion dollar surplus and instead of taking the opportunity to invest in our hospitals they sit on billions amid a healthcare crisis which is real, this government has not offered a single new penny,” said NPD Finance critic Catherine Fife.

CARP’s  David Cravit was disappointed there was was no mention of healthcare.

“The problem he’s got, is that it’s not something that money can fix, he can build more beds and should and he will, so certain expenses are needed, but the system itself needs to be overhauled right from the beginning,” said Cravit.

The economic update predicts an a $12.9 billion dollar shortfall this fiscal and an $8.1-billion deficit in 2023-24 but should drop to a $700 million deficit the following year.

As promised the government has repealed Bill 28 which imposed a contract on CUPE education workers and barred them from striking.

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