March 26th, 2024

Seniors left behind by Houston’s budget

HALIFAX – Four months after suggesting they were open to creating a Seniors’ Income Benefit, the Houston government’s 2024 budget brings little to the table for Nova Scotian seniors.

“Seniors’ poverty in Nova Scotia is the worst of any province in Canada, and over a quarter of those who are homeless for the first time are over the age of 60. The government cannot continue to evade this,” said Gary Burrill, NDP spokesperson for Seniors. “The benefits of direct income supports to seniors, particularly during this intense cost-of-living crisis, are recognized by all but two jurisdictions in this country, and it’s time this government provided for Nova Scotian seniors what seniors in the rest of Canada receive.”

Unlike all direct income supports to seniors in Canada, the Houston government’s Seniors Care Grant requires an application and receipts. It also does not allow seniors to use the funding toward housing, food, or medication.

“Seniors in Nova Scotia need to be able to afford to live. Rents are now around two thousand dollars a month, plus power, plus food, plus fuel, it’s harder than ever for people to get by,” said Steven Callahan, a retiree and resident of Fairview. “Some seniors have to only buy half of their prescriptions because they can’t afford the full thing. All seniors need a raise to live. They have worked all their lives and now it’s time to enjoy their retirement.”

Burrill will introduce a Resolution in the House today calling on the Conservative government to examine the potential for a Seniors Income Benefit at the Public Accounts Committee’s earliest opportunity.