It has been more than a year now that I have had the great privilege to serve as Canada’s Minister of Seniors and, as always, I am honoured to do so.
This year has been filled with many accomplishments by our government to make life more affordable for Canadians. As inflation continues to raise prices across the globe, and here at home, many Canadians are weathering through the increased costs of living. That’s why we are implementing targeted measures that make a meaningful difference in the lives of families, seniors, students, workers and renters so we can build an economy that works for all Canadians.
In our Fall Economic Statement, we announced the doubling of the GST credit for six months, which has helped 11 million Canadians, putting an average of $225 more in the pockets of seniors. The next payment will be issued on January 5th 2023. We also enhanced the payments of the Canada Workers Benefit so low-income workers can pay for everyday essentials.
To ensure that the costs of dental care does not prevent children from getting the care they need, we launched the first Canada Dental Benefit for children 12 and under who do not have access to private insurance, providing up to $1,300 over two years. We also worked with provinces and territories to reduce daycare fees to an average of $10 per day by 2026.
This past year, I had the privilege to travel across the country to meet with seniors and senior serving organizations. Most recently, I visited Saskatchewan and heard feedback and stories from seniors in Saskatoon about how the doubling of the GST credit has helped with paying for things like groceries. I also shared the concrete measures we’ve put forward, like the increase to Old Age Security by 10% for seniors 75 or older, who are among the most vulnerable. Most importantly, such critical benefits are indexed to inflation, to keep up with the costs of living.
As we enter the holiday season, it is important to recognize the rich diversity of culture in Canada, it’s this diversity that brings Canada its strength. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just enjoying the holidays, I wish everyone a joyous, safe and happy time. I also encourage you to connect with the older adults around you as the holidays can be a time of loneliness and isolation for many.
As we enter the New Year, I remain committed to working hard to serve Canada’s seniors, listening to your concerns, and keeping you up to date. Please take a moment to share this link with friends and colleagues so that they can sign up to receive my updates.
Thanks for reading and happy holidays!
Minister of Seniors
Important information for seniors
On December 5th, I visited seniors and seniors’ service organizations in Saskatoon to learn more about the work they do, as well as share how our government is making life more affordable for seniors.
One of the organizations we met with was the Central Urban Métis Federation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There, I had the opportunity to meet with elders who serve as important knowledge keepers, sharers, healers and teachers. And I announced an investment of $266,159 through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) to fund 12 community-based projects. In 2021–22, over $61 million was invested through the NHSP in more than 3,000 community-based projects across Canada. In Saskatchewan, 95 projects were funded for a total of over $1,955,267.
While in Saskatoon, I also met with local city Councillor Zach Jeffries, the Saskatoon Open Door Society and local seniors who expressed how happy they were that because of the doubling of the GST credit, they have received an average of an extra $225 in their bank accounts.
With every visit, I learn more about the needs of seniors in Canada and I always come back to Parliament re-energized to continue the work I am doing to make sure we improve the quality of life of all seniors.
Applications for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit are now open!
As of December 12, 2022, applications for the new one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit are now open. This new benefit is tax free and provides a one-time payment of $500 to eligible applicants who are facing housing affordability challenges. To be eligible, you must:
- have filed a 2021 tax return;
- be at least 15 years of age as of December 1, 2022;
- be a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes;
- have a principal residence located in Canada on December 1, 2022;
- have an adjusted family net income of $20,000 or less for individuals, or $35,000 or less for families;
- have paid at least 30% of their 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for their principal residence in the 2022 calendar year; and
- be able to provide their 2022 address(es) and landlord’s contact information.
How you can apply
My Account is the quickest and most secure way to apply for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. You can register now using one of our convenient sign-in options.
A web form is also available to submit applications without having to sign into My Account or My Service Canada Account. If you need to update your personal and banking information, you will not be permitted to make those changes on the web form and you should apply through My Account or by phone instead.
If you are unable to apply online, call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-282-8079 to complete your application with an agent. If you apply through My Account or by phone, and are signed up for direct deposit, you can get your payment within five business days.
- Sign up for direct deposit
- Make sure your personal information is up to date
- File your 2021 tax return
Older adults & social isolation – Mental health resources
The holidays usually signify a time of laughter, joy and togetherness. But for many older adults, the holiday season can be a difficult time if they are experiencing social isolation and loneliness. Statistics Canada found that one fifth of older adults crave more social interaction during the holidays.
Here are a few small but meaningful things you can do this season to show compassion toward an older adult in your life:
- Give them a call
- Have a video chat
- Deliver a gift
- Enjoy a meal together
- Drop in for a visit
- Offer to run errands
It is important to spread love this holiday season. If you are looking for further mental health support, please visit the Mental Health support: Get help page.
Help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses
Respiratory viruses increase in the fall and winter as people spend more time together indoors. This year, the respiratory virus season started earlier than usual. There has been a higher than expected increase in cases of respiratory viruses, including the flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Use several layers of protection to reduce your risk of getting and spreading infection.
Get your annual flu vaccine
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada recommend that everyone aged 6 months or older get the annual flu vaccine. It can help prevent influenza and reduce the severity of your symptoms even if you do get sick. It also helps to prevent flu-related complications such as pneumonia.
People at higher risk of flu-related complications include those who:
- are aged 65 years or older,
- have chronic health conditions, or
- reside in nursing homes or other care facilities, among others.
You can get your flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit your provincial or territorial website to find out where to book a flu vaccine in your area.
Get your recommended COVID-19 vaccines
Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
If it has been 6 months or more since your last dose or since being infected with COVID-19, it’s time to get a booster dose. It is especially important for people 65 years of age and older and for anyone who is at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
Visit your provincial or territorial website to find out if you are due for a COVID-19 booster and to book an appointment in your area.
Use individual public health measures to help protect yourself and others
In addition to staying up to date with your annual flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccinations, it’s important to continue practicing individual public health measures. This means you should:
- stay home when sick,
- properly wear a well-constructed, well-fitting mask in crowded indoor public settings,
- improve indoor ventilation, when possible, by opening a door or window,
- clean your hands often,
- cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the bend of your arm, and
- clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects frequently.
Pay attention to public health alerts and advice in your area and make informed decisions about using individual public health measures.
- Poster: Plan to get your flu shot
- Fact sheet: Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations
- Social media images: Get the facts about COVID-19 booster doses
Winter safety tips
Winter has arrived! With the temperature dropping and longer hours of darkness, older adults may find the cold weather has a negative impact on their health and well-being.
Here are a few reminders to help protect yourself and stay healthy:
- Keep up with weather updates, including wind chill alerts.
- Dress in flexible, breathable layers and keep your head and neck covered.
- Remove wet or damp clothing as soon as you come back inside.
- Try to keep moving and stay active.
- Eat a healthy diet to keep your energy up and stay hydrated.
- Maintain social connections to protect your mental health.
- Find shelter in extreme cold conditions.
- Wear winter footwear with good traction to help prevent falls.
Planning a trip abroad this winter?
If you are planning on traveling outside Canada in the coming months, including to the United States, we have some tips and advice to help you prepare:
- Make sure to get travel insurance coverage that meets all your needs.
- Find out what medications you are allowed to travel with.
- Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service so that we can contact you in case of an emergency.
- While you’re away, follow local rules, including public health advice.
- Keep your passport and other important documents in a safe place. And before you return, find out about customs rules for coming back to Canada.
For more information and advice on traveling abroad safely, visit travel.gc.ca/older-travellers.