Today, ISAC, along with over 100 organizations from across Canada, called on Minister Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, to address the issue of CERB-GIS benefits interaction which has resulted in low-income working seniors experiencing a reduction or complete loss of their GIS benefit.
Specifically, we are calling on Minister Qualtrough to:
- Exclude CERB from the calculation of income and recalculate the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and other income-determined seniors’ benefits for 2020-2021; and
- Retroactively return the lost benefits and apply the readjusted benefit amount for the duration of the 2021-2022 year.
For low-income seniors who work, the CERB was a lifeline. Nearly one in three working seniors received some amount of CERB. They accessed CERB because of job loss, but also because as a high-risk population, they were following the advice of health authorities to isolate to stay safe.
It is contrary to the intention of the CERB, the GIS, and the overall poverty reduction goals of the Federal Government to reduce or eliminate the GIS benefit for low-income seniors in 2021 simply because they accessed temporary pandemic benefits in 2020. Failure to restore a full GIS benefit for seniors who accessed CERB will deepen the poverty crisis for low-income seniors now.
Read the full open letter here in English and ici en français.
Read the press release here.
ISAC encourages individuals to contact their federally elected representatives and let them know that this issue needs urgent attention now.
- Download the MP template letter for seniors experiencing a loss of GIS due to CERB here in English and ici en français
- Download the MP template letter for allies here in English and ici en français.
You can find your MP at this link: https://www.ourcommons.ca/members
Low-income working seniors can’t wait!