Far too many seniors face isolation in their retirement years. This was a fact even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is committed to empowering seniors by supporting opportunities for older Canadians to stay involved and engaged in their communities.
Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte, announced an investment of $126,503 for six community-based projects in the Riding of Sault Ste. Marie. These projects will help seniors stay active, informed, and socially connected in their communities. This funding was awarded through the New Horizons for Seniors Program’s recent call for proposals for community-based projects.
“Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Government of Canada is providing a wide range of opportunities for seniors in the Riding of Sault Ste. Marie to participate in meaningful activities which will nurture their personal growth and foster community vitality.” – Terry Sheehan, MP for Sault Ste. Marie, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedNor)
- Nutritious Food for Seniors has been granted $25,000. Seniors involved with Algoma Family Services will participate in delivering food boxes to promote health and well-being of our community seniors.
- Minds in Motion Program will receive $6,000 which will be used by seniors involved with the Alzheimer Society of Sault Se. Marie and Algoma District to offer learning activities and support to assist those living with dementia and to reduce the social isolation among community seniors.
- Awareness, Education, Partnerships – Elder Abuse & Fraud will receive $25,000. Seniors involved with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service will host elder abuse workshops with creation of videos and presentations on various topics, to raise awareness of abuse among our seniors.
- The Sault Ste. Marie YMCA will receive $24,575 for Recumbent Bikes and Fitness Equipment for Seniors. The purchase of this new equipment will facilitate easier activities and promote the social inclusion of seniors.
- Seniors Perform for Seniors has been granted $25,000 for the program which will involve seniors within the Algoma Conservatory of Music planning a new series of events designed to support social participation and inclusion of community seniors.
- The City of Sault Ste. Marie will receive $20,928 for Engaging Seniors Through Virtual Programming. Seniors associated with the municipality will work together to deliver virtual computer workshops to support social participation and inclusion of seniors.
“Good nutrition is the underpinning to good mental health. This much needed funding will allow Algoma Family Services to provide food to seniors greatly impacted by the pandemic isolation. We are thankful to MP Sheehan and the federal government for helping us attend to the nutrition needs of seniors in our community. It shows we care, and our seniors are not forgotten during this time of isolation.” – Ali Juma, CEO Algoma Family Services
This year, the Government of Canada increased its investment in the New Horizons for Seniors Program to $60.8 million, funding over 3,000 community-based projects to support seniors across the country.
“The Sault Ste. Marie YMCA is excited and thankful to be able to acquire new recumbent bikes, new fitness equipment and disinfecting equipment to promote physical activity for seniors that is safe and easy on their bodies all the while providing an environment where they can socialize, meet new people and get out of the house. The disinfecting equipment is particularly important in our current environment and will help seniors feel safe while using the new equipment and socializing with new friends.” – Anne Markkula, Acting CEO, Sault Ste. Marie YMCA
- The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program whose goal is to support projects that help foster social inclusion and improve seniors’ health and well-being.
- The funding helps support activities that engage seniors in their communities and address one or more of the program’s five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation, and capital assistance.
- Since 2004, the NHSP has funded over 30,000 projects, including projects related to COVID-19, in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of more than $600 million. NHSP funding supports community-based projects and pan-Canadian projects.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced additional measures to support seniors:
- $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April 2020. More than 4 million seniors benefited from this top-up.
- Reduced the required minimum withdrawals amount for seniors from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
- Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.