The federal government has announced that they will be providing seniors a financial boost amid COVID-19, in the form of a one-time, tax-free top-up payment to help manage extra costs during this time.
Seniors Minister Deb Schulte stated on Tuesday that seniors who qualify Old Age Security (OAS) will be eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an additonal $200.
Seniors who are eligible for both will receive $500.
The aid package amounts to $2.5 billion across the country, and is expected to help 6.7 million elderly Canadians.
Many seniors are facing extra fees for prescriptions, additional costs for grocery delivery services and even taxi fare, when they might usually take the bus.
“It’s all small amounts, but it adds up,” Schulte said.
Another $20 million will go to the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which funds various community projects for seniors, according to the federal government.
This program is expected to help lessen the impacts of isolation, and will provide services like virtual exercise programs and tablets for older Canadians.
In his daily address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said seniors will now “get the help they need.”
He also acknowledges, “there’s a lot more work to be done.”
“COVID-19 has exposed some uncomfortable truths about our society including how we care for seniors in Canada,” Trudeau added.
“We need to be there for those who built this country for the rest of us.”