November 1st, 2023
Houston must help seniors afford cost of living increases
HALIFAX – Nova Scotians are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. According to this year’s Food Banks Canada Poverty Report Card, 53 per cent of Nova Scotians say they are worse off than they were a year ago.
While the Houston government cut back the amount and income level for this year’s Heating Assistance Rebate Program, the Nova Scotia NDP is fighting for solutions like creating a seniors' income benefit.
“Nova Scotia seniors are struggling and the Houston government is ignoring them. The skyrocketing cost of food, medication, and housing is especially tough for seniors and retirees who live on low or moderate fixed incomes” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “Almost every other province and territory has an income benefit for seniors. We need to take a serious look at what we can do to help.”
As of 2021, the poverty rate among seniors in Nova Scotia was 9.1 per cent – the highest across Canada. Earlier this sitting, the NSNDP also tabled legislation to remove HST from all food sold in grocery stores and increase the amount for the Nova Scotia Affordable Living Tax Credit by 50 per cent.
“I’m 70 years old and back working part-time to make ends meet. People are really struggling and seniors are getting discouraged. Seniors have worked hard and not everyone has a pension that covers the rising cost of everyday needs. Anything that could give people more wiggle room would be welcome.” - Doris MacDonald, Dartmouth Resident
“The ACE Team (Advocates for the Care of the Elderly) is pleased to support the legislation being introduced by Gary Burrill and the NSNDP. This Act appears to be just the kind of "solution-focused" initiative that Premier Houston has been supportive of in the past. As I understand it, this would provide for an automatic income benefit for those over 65 which is badly needed. Paying upfront is a significant barrier for seniors on a fixed income and often means they cannot afford the initial cost even if something like the Seniors Care Grant is in place.” - Paul Jenkinson, MSW (Retired Seniors Social Worker) and ACE Team Communications Coordinator