Sheehan responds to questions about CPP, senior poverty

senior alone

With the cost of inflation going up, individuals on a fixed income, including seniors are feeling the pinch in the pocketbook.

Some have been asking our reporters when the government will do more to make sure they stay above the poverty line.

We asked MPP Terry Sheehan about the CPP and what his government is doing to help. He provided an extremely lengthy answer, highlighting many efforts made by the current Liberal Government to address the issue.

In light of transparency, we have chosen to print the whole response in full below.

Our government is continuing to strengthen seniors’ financial security and improve their quality of life.
We are making retirement more affordable for Canadians after a lifetime of hard work. Since the very beginning our government has been there for seniors:
 Seniors’ financial well-being is a top priority. Since 2015, the Government has provided supports to seniors such as:
  • For the youngest seniors, we restored the age of eligibility for Old Age Security to 65 after the Conservatives raised it to 67. That put thousands of dollars back into the pockets of seniors.
  • In 2020 we provided a GST top-up worth an average of $375 for individual seniors and $510 for senior couples
  • In 2021 we provided a one-time tax-free payment of $300 to OAS recipients, and an additional $200 to GIS recipients
  • Our 2021 platform commitment is to raise GIS by $500
  • For the most vulnerable seniors, we increased the Guaranteed Income Supplement by 10 per cent for individuals, improving the financial security of 900,000 seniors. We also made changes to the GIS earnings exemption that helped low-income seniors keep more of their earned income in their pockets, lifting 45,000 seniors out of poverty.
  • Enhanced the Canada Pension Plan, so that future retirees across Canada will be able to enjoy a more secure retirement. We worked together with provinces and territories to increase the Canada Pension Plan maximum yearly benefit for future retirees by over 50 per cent to nearly $20,000. The CPP enhancement began in 2019.
  • For future retirees, we are gradually increasing the Canada Pension Plan’s maximum yearly benefit by 50 per cent, a change that was mirrored by the Quebec Pension Plan. That meaningfully reduces the risk of not saving enough for retirement.
  • To help everyone, we are reducing income taxes. When increases to the Basic Personal Amount are fully implemented in 2023, 4.3 million seniors will benefit, including 465,000 whose federal income tax will be reduced to zero. Every year, individuals will save close to $300 and couples will save nearly $600.
  • Moving forward with the plan to boost the OAS pension by 10% in July 2022 for seniors 75 and over, this would provide an extra $766 to full pensioners over the first year. This is the first increase to OAS since 1973 aside from inflation
  • Our ambitious and progressive measures are making a real difference for seniors’ financial security, and there is more work to do. Canadian seniors can always count on us to listen, understand their needs and work hard to deliver for them.
  • Invested $6 billion into Homecare and Palliative care through Provinces & Territories
  • Invested in building new affordable housing units for seniors
  • Invested an additional $20 million annually in New Horizons for Seniors Program to help seniors stay engaged and healthy
  • We invested $90 million in the new Age Well at Homeinitiative (launching this year) will help low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors live in their homes for as long as possible. It will fund practical supports from community groups to connect seniors with help for tasks they are no longer able to manage.
  • Canada’s public pension system is designed to provide benefits that increase with the cost of living, with payments only ever increasing or staying the same. They never go down.
    • OAS benefit rates are reviewed in January, April, July and October to ensure they reflect cost of living increases, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  CPP benefit rates are reviewed annually in January.
    • As prices for those goods and services measured by the CPI increase, OAS and CPP benefits also go up, providing seniors with protection against price increases. If the cost of goods and services goes down, OAS and CPP benefits will not decreaseOAS and CPP payment amounts will only ever increase or stay the same.
    • This July, we are increasing OAS by 10% for seniors 75+, this is the first increase to OAS since 1973 aside from inflation
We can all agree just how challenging this pandemic has been on seniors, and our government has been there to support them.
Our government recognizes that some GIS and Allowance recipients may face lower benefit payments because of the income they receive from these pandemic benefits; exempting pandemic benefits from the calculation of GIS or Allowance benefits will ensure we do not penalize seniors for taking pandemic benefits that they needed to help make ends meet.
We moved quickly after being appointed to deliver a one-time payment for those affected seniors. On March 23, 2022, Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (Guaranteed Income Supplement) received Royal Assent.  It will ensure working and low-income seniors, are never again negatively impacted for any pandemic benefits they take.
Our government’s priority has been to be there for the most vulnerable, especially seniors. We worked hard to strengthen income security for seniors on GIS and Allowance. Bill C-12 now excludes any pandemic benefit in GIS and Allowance calculation for seniors. We are also making a major investment through a one-time payment for seniors whose benefits were affected previously. These will be delivered, ahead of schedule, as soon as April 19. Service Canada worked with Members of Parliament to help constituents in dire need get support sooner. We will always be there for seniors.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced measures to support seniors:
  • $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April. 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.
  • $9 million through the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Funding Program, investing in community organizations that provide practical services to Canadian seniors, and in 2020 to help seniors and others get essential services and supplies, such as the delivery of groceries, we invested half a billion dollars through partners like the United Way, food banks, and charities.
There are many organizations that continue to receive funding during COVID-19 to support seniors in many ways.
In 2020,
The Emergency Community Support Fund saw, a $300,000 investment in my riding from the Government of Canada to support charities and non-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations as they manage the impacts of COVID-19. 
Canada and Ontario funding of $693,481 in housing development transformed former St. Bernadette Catholic School into affordable housing complex to support Indigenous women and children who are at risk of homelessness and the former Rosedale Public School with $419,832 in funding into a nine-unit housing development.
To prevent and reduce homelessness, the Government of Canada provided significant increase of support during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Reaching Home Program and we received $836,590 for our community.
In 2021,
 Seniors face isolation in their retirement years. This was a fact even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, accessing this funding has provided the means for United Way Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with Algoma Family Services, Sault Search and Rescue and Community Living Algoma, to deliver food boxes to local seniors.
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.
A joint federal-provincial funding for Algoma District School Board and the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board funded $7,115,000M to fund infrastructure improvements to protect students and staff from COVID-19.
The Government of Canada and Ontario provided J.D. Davey Home with a $127,600 COVID-19 funding   to install 2 new HVAC systems.
With COVID-19 having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable Canadians and creating a greater need for community-based supports, we funded $271,365 to charities and Non-Profit recipients in my riding.
Infrastructure projects through COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream provided the City of Sault Ste. Mare with $343,538 for priority projects.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 to help operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic so to continue to provide important support for Veterans received a $10,845 commitment from the Government of Canada.
To date in 2022,
Grocer for Good – Saturday Wellness Market Canada, is building safer spaces and ensuring a higher quality of life for people across the country, by helping communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.  Staffers have been included in developing meal kits that have been given out to patrons at no cost. Organizers determined that ‘wellness’ included food security, social and emotional well-being. Sharing recipes, having a cup of coffee and enjoying a special treat or activity have all been integrated into the Saturday Market initiative. They received $24,760.00.
St. Vincent Place Sault Ste. Marie, established in 2003, applied for funding in support of its effort to improve its capacity to provide fresh, nutritious food. St. Vincent Place is focused on providing outreach and referral services to help those who require access to shelter, food, and other basic needs. This organization applied for funding to purchase and install a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer and was awarded $35,458 for that purpose.
Garden River First Nation – The Garden River Food House – Through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund funding was awarded in the amount of $88,216. This project will supply two refrigerators, a custom walk- in freezer, associated installation costs for the walk in freezer and numerous other costs relating to the greenhouse, raised garden beds and kitchen supplies.
Salvation Army – Through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund they received $35,458 to improve capacity to provide fresh, nutritious food in Sault Ste. Marie.  The funding will help purchase and install a walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer.
Budget 2022
Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, released Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable.
Canada owes our seniors a great deal and the federal government plays the leading role in providing seniors with much-needed income support.
 Many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes for as long possible. The federal government provides significant support for aging in place, including, as of 2017, through $6 billion over ten years to provinces and territories for the delivery of home care services. 
  • Budget 2022 proposes the creation of 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. More details will be provided in the months to come.
Seniors also want to stay active and engaged in their communities as they age, and the New Horizons for Seniors Program—which has supported more than 33,500 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada since 2004—helps them do so.
  • Budget 2022 proposes $20 million over two years, beginning in 2022-23, for an expanded New Horizons for Seniors Program to support more projects that improve the quality of life for seniors and help them continue to fully participate in their communities.
Seniors and persons with disabilities deserve the opportunity to live and age at home, but renovations and upgrades that make homes safe and accessible can be costly. The Home Accessibility Tax Credit provides support to offset some of these costs. But with the increased costs of home renovations, many seniors and persons with disabilities are often finding it hard to afford the home improvements that would allow them to continue living safely at home.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to double the qualifying expense limit of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to $20,000 for the 2022 and subsequent tax years. This will mean a tax credit of up to $3,000—an increase from the previous tax credit of up to $1,500—for important accessibility renovations or alterations.
Doubling the credit’s annual limit will help make more significant alterations and renovations more affordable, including:
  • The purchase and installation of wheelchair ramps, walk-in bathtubs, and wheel-in showers;
  • Widening doorways and hallways to allow for the passage of a wheelchair or walker;
  • Building a bedroom or a bathroom to permit first-floor occupancy; and
  • Installing non-slip flooring to help avoid falls.
We will always be there for Canada’s seniors and continue to support and deliver for seniors every step of the way.
Terry Sheehan
Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie
Stay with SaultOnline/ONNTV as we continue to ask the questions you have of our community leaders.


  1. Did Terry prepare this report all by himself or did this come out of the Trudeau playbook in Ottawa(just the names and places can be changed). Seniors have been getting paltry increases in old-age benefits for years. It is time for free dental care and free prescription drugs for those over age 65.

    • To me it looks like he copied it from the crime minister’s playbook. What are these idiots doing about inflation other then printing more money and making the issue worse for us and us the taxpayers get stuck paying the bill.

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