Castanet recently ran a story about the United Way Report on Seniors and Homelessness.
We are constantly seeing, and hearing about, union strike action resulting in some pretty big pay increases for union members. We are also seeing reports of service price and fee increases being raised, particularly by local government to cover their increased costs.
The COVID pandemic is still being blamed for rising business costs along with other inflationary trends and, of course, we cannot ignore our free spending federal government, which is unable to put in place any controls over housing prices and who's policies (including the carbon tax) are forcing interest rate increases and the impact that has on mortgage rates and rental costs.
As a senior, all of the above factors have had a huge impact on my retirement income. My income from pensions and RRIFs was to provide a comfortable retirement. But, in addition to the impact of rising prices and costs, I found the Canadian tax system is also a contributor to senior welfare.
Following the death of my wife, I no longer have an income splitting or sharing tax deduction surplus, so with a decreased level of income (no pension income from my wife) and none of the other taxation benefits, I have a tax bill to pay on my paltry income.
Of course pension income tends to be “fixed", there are no huge pay increases like those won by port workers and auto workers, etc.
What makes the whole issue even worse is our politicians refer to seniors as our most vulnerable (Canadians). If that was more than just lip service, we would see much better levels of Canadian pensions and much better Canada Revenue Agency regulations for single seniors.
Maybe, some of our elected officials at federal, provincial and even (municipal) levels should attempt living and budgeting on Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security income levels.
Of course, seniors have a limited impact on the economy. They don't spend that much, having already “been there and done that.” Seniors are a drain on medical and health costs, not mention the cost of long-term care. So, do they es the government really care as much as it says?
If our society and our governments really have concerns about seniors having to live “unhoused” (another recent term to avoid the harshness of homelessness), then fix the pension plans, and the Canadian tax system. Those are two fairly simple steps to allow us to live life in retirement without having to age in uncertainty.
As a final word of advice to the younger generation who might be reading this, take advantage of tax free savings account and registered retirement saving plans to save towards your future (in retirement.) I believe there will be funds in the Canada Pension Plan but put money away to ensure you have enough.
Malcolm Roberts, Kelowna.