TORONTO – Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) calls on the federal government to make funds available immediately for low-income seniors who lost their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) due to CERB and CRB.
Today’s Economic and Fiscal Update includes an announcement of a $742.4 million fund for one-time payments to low-income seniors who lost their GIS because of temporary increases to their incomes due to their receipt of CERB or CRB. The government also announced that it will continue to look into ways to limit potential benefit reductions for seniors who received emergency and pandemic benefits.
“We are pleased to see movement on this issue, but every single day matters for these seniors,” says Melinda Ferlisi, Executive Director of ISAC. “For months we have heard the most heart-breaking stories about seniors going into rental arrears, turning to food banks, or selling their possessions to make ends meet. Many will not survive if they are forced to wait months to receive funds meant to replace their lost GIS.”
The announcement is a fix to the problem of GIS-CERB benefits interactions which became widely known in early August 2021 when approx. 88,000 seniors across Canada saw their 2021 GIS benefits reduced or eliminated. GIS benefits are based on the previous year’s income and are calculated in July for the next fiscal year.
Janet McLeod is one of those affected seniors. When CERB was being rolled out in 2020, she checked to see if she was eligible. Despite her due diligence, she was not warned about the interaction, and her GIS payments were halted in July 2021.
“This started in July – it’s now December. Costs are rising on a daily basis. COVID cases are increasing. They’ve thrown us a fish. But we can’t wait.”
Questions remain about how these funds will be distributed.
“The timing of this roll out is crucial,” says Ferlisi. “We need to see this money in bank accounts by the end of December, and we need to be assured that this is not going to happen all over again next July.”
For more information or to discuss media availability contact:
Claudia Calabro, Communications Specialist / Organizer
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
email@example.com // cell: 437-245-9457