Geezers unite!

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I Think
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Geezers unite!

Post by I Think »

Canadian seniors are hurting.
Lots of us are living below the poverty line,
Many cannot pay for their prescriptions, pharmacare has weird rules about which drugs are allowed.
Private clinics are being opened which most seniors simply cannot afford.
Senior housing is virtually unobtainable.
The above is a very short list, and does not include many other problems endured by people who have worked their whole lives for Canada.

We seniors have a lot of votes, lets give our votes to politicians who actually are doing something to help us!
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laurensawyer
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by laurensawyer »

Nibs i gotta news tip for you, a lot of people are hurting not just seniors. The economy is down, benefits are very expensive to pay for so for a young family that has kids who may need braces, out of the question. Housing for everyone is exspensive as is food, clothing, GAS, insurance, etc. Don't think seniors are getting a bad wrap because poverty is not judgemental or generation bias. Most of the seniors i know get discounts everywhere they go and also eat out just about every meal.
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by NAB »

We seniors have a lot of votes, lets give our votes to politicians who actually are doing something to help us!


Fair enough nibs, good idea to focus on specific issues and as a "senior" myself I am quite willing to enter into a conversation about our particular problems and where our vote may be best placed in this election. (lets bear in mind however right from the git go that this is a federal election, so has to relate to areas over which a federal government (as opposed to a provincial government) has responsibility and authority.

Perhaps a good place to start would be to define what is our general "poverty level", ...but more importantly to identify which politicians it is "who actually are doing something to help us" and how, and in what way they propose to do more-so if elected.

I can tell you that, from the perspective of my position as a senior, there is nothing I have seen so far in any of their platforms that does anything for me at all. Certainly all this chatter about pumping up the GIS doesn't, as you have to be living in total squalor before that kicks in to a degree that it can be helpful at all. (Not that I begrudge those living in such extreme situations getting some extra help, God knows they need it).

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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by Urbane »

    Nibs wrote:Canadian seniors are hurting.
    Lots of us are living below the poverty line,
    Many cannot pay for their prescriptions, pharmacare has weird rules about which drugs are allowed.
    Private clinics are being opened which most seniors simply cannot afford.
    Senior housing is virtually unobtainable.
    The above is a very short list, and does not include many other problems endured by people who have worked their whole lives for Canada.

    We seniors have a lot of votes, lets give our votes to politicians who actually are doing something to help us!
My wife and I were very prudent during our working years when it came to expenditures. We didn't buy a lot of toys (no motorboats or travel trailers etc), we didn't take a lot of expensive trips, and we put some of our earnings away in savings. Many others didn't do what we did but now want taxpayers to bail them out. Remember that I said "some" because there definitely are some seniors who lived a frugal life during their working years and are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. Seniors do have Pharmacare, Old Age Security, the Canada Pension, and welfare if necessary. I'd like to hear more about the problems with Pharmacare though and if there are issues there they should be brought up. And I'm not sure what the problem is with private clinics. What type of private clinics do seniors have to use? As for senior housing I'd like to see the private sector get involved because it just seems more and more people are looking to the government to feed us, clothe us, house us, and tuck us in at night.
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grammafreddy
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by grammafreddy »

I'll be watching this thread closely .... and I haven't seen any political party so far who has intelligently addressed any of the issues that affect seniors (over age 60) and help them cope with their every day life and expenses.

The CPP, OAS and GIS amounts are an insult and don't even begin to cover the basics of shelter, food, home care and extra costs for Rx and medical.
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by Logitack »

grammafreddy wrote:
The CPP, OAS and GIS amounts are an insult and don't even begin to cover the basics of shelter, food, home care and extra costs for Rx and medical.

Are they intended to cover the basics? I dont think so. it is assume that over your working life you will have saved money for your retirement years and that money would be suffient to cover the "basic" costs during your "senior" years.

I am a little surprised at that comment, gram, considering all the other comments you have made about people being self sufficient and not look to government for the handouts.
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by flamingfingers »

Logitack wrote:
grammafreddy wrote:
The CPP, OAS and GIS amounts are an insult and don't even begin to cover the basics of shelter, food, home care and extra costs for Rx and medical.

Are they intended to cover the basics? I dont think so. it is assume that over your working life you will have saved money for your retirement years and that money would be suffient to cover the "basic" costs during your "senior" years.

I am a little surprised at that comment, gram, considering all the other comments you have made about people being self sufficient and not look to government for the handouts.


I dunno about you Logi, but during my working lifetime (going on 49 years now) I have always paid into CPP and have always paid more than my fair share of taxes as well, along with Unemployment insurance(which I have never collected on), etc. So I am not at all sure one could view CPP as a 'handout'.... Just sayin...
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steven lloyd
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by steven lloyd »

flamingfingers wrote: I dunno about you Logi, but during my working lifetime (going on 49 years now) I have always paid into CPP and have always paid more than my fair share of taxes as well, along with Unemployment insurance(which I have never collected on), etc. So I am not at all sure one could view CPP as a 'handout'.... Just sayin...

I collected EI once - for about three months. But like you say, I paid into it and like any insurance policy that is what it is intended for. I've also been paying into CPP my entire working life and expect something back for it. It's hardly my only retirement savings and investment plan, but again - I've been paying into it and that's what it is intended for.
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by I Think »

With inflation on the march, the government is ignoring the fact that seniors are supposed to be getting cost of living increases, they carefully took out such things as gasoline out of the inflation index. Seniors are getting a bum deal, and CPP is not a hand out, any more than is OAP.

Its election time & the pols want our vote, what are they offering to do for us in order to earn it?
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grammafreddy
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by grammafreddy »

Logitack wrote:
grammafreddy wrote:
The CPP, OAS and GIS amounts are an insult and don't even begin to cover the basics of shelter, food, home care and extra costs for Rx and medical.

Are they intended to cover the basics? I dont think so. it is assume that over your working life you will have saved money for your retirement years and that money would be suffient to cover the "basic" costs during your "senior" years.

I am a little surprised at that comment, gram, considering all the other comments you have made about people being self sufficient and not look to government for the handouts.


Well, Logi, then you haven't been paying attention. Mostly my comments have been directed at younger people who earn enough to live on but who amass debt for stupid, wasteful things or who spend money they don't have on trying to keep up with the Joneses (who are probably also living in debt, too).

There are many seniors who try to survive on about $1000 to $1200 a month. Can you honestly say that anybody can do that? But these people do because they have no other choices, however their quality of life is reduced drastically and they tend to not eat properly, not take all their medicines properly or heat their homes adequately, which, of course, increases the costs associated with health care for them.

A number of these seniors are women - who have never worked outside the home, they stayed home with their kids and relied on the traditional concept of "family" where Dad brings home the bacon and Mom cooks it ... then their husbands die and they are suddenly faced with trying to manage on their own. Kids move to other places or become too busy to bother with their parents and their issues. These are not women who can just go out and find a job - they have no skills, are too old or are rejected at every turn just based on age alone. They may have had some training or even a profession when they were younger but after staying home with their kids, their skill sets are out of date. Nobody wants them and nobody will hire them - even if they are healthy enough to work on into their 70s.

And yes, you are correct in that I always advocate responsibility and try to educate today's young people to be fiscally responsible and to save money from their paycheques - because I know all too well what happens when they don't. Young people should be working with an aim to save, not spend and not go into debt. The concept of saving for something as opposed to buying on credit needs to be drilled into them as they tend to be wasters of money and then expect governments to pick up the slack for them. I don't think you can lump most seniors into that class.
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Re: Geezers unite!

Post by NAB »

I don't hear many seniors complaining, with the exception of the ones who, for whatever reasons (and there are many both within and beyond their control) have not adequately prepared for their retirement or infirm years.

An interesting thing about the current situation and the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) as it relates to seniors incomes and how well they may have prepared for their retirement years through spending prudently and saving Urbane is that few people who have not reached retirement age don't know how it works. At the most basic level virtually everyone gets the Old Age Security provided they meet the rather easy qualifications of citizenship and length of residency in Canada. That baseline amounts to a maximum of $500.00 or so a month.

Then there is CPP (Canada Pension plan), the monthly amount dependant on total employment related contributions since it was first introduced (mid nineteen sixties?). That can amount to anything in a range of virtually nothing at all if a person didn't contribute much via employment deductions through their lifetime, up to perhaps 7 or 8 hundred dollars a month. So in combination we have seniors counting on the government in their retirement for anywhere from approximately $500.00 per month to a maximum of approximately $1200.00 per month. ($6000.00 to $14,400.00 per year gross).

OAS is not income taxable, but CPP and any other private income, say from RRSP/RRIF/investments is, so depending on a number of factors (household rather than individual income, deductions, etc) and the income tax threshold at any point in time, some people in this range may even get to pay some FEDERAL income tax (but not usually, and most certainly do not pay any Provincial Income Tax).

Anyway, living on $1200.00 per month (OAS and and max CPP if qualified), while possible (particularly if two people are contributing to a household), living on $500.00 per month certainly is not. Most senior people however have had access to saving and topping up plans during their working life (if they used them wisely and effectively), and can usually count on receiving at least $500 per month from such sources, bringing them to anywhere from $1000.00 per month gross to about $1700.00 per month (12 K and $20,400.00 a year respectively). Incomes in this range are the one's that normally trigger GIS assistance, which in the worst case scenarios can guarantee around $1200.00 per month regardless of whether one has CPP or other income or not.

So what does it really mean for the vast majority of current or future seniors when a political party "promises" to do something to increase the GIS (either by changing the already exceptionally low threshold for qualification, or increasing the amount tables slightly, or a bit of both....

NOTHING REALLY! So a statement from any candidate that their platform in this election includes "help" for seniors in general via GIS is IMO just more smoke and mirrors

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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by Roadster »

Ok, I am not a geeser yet, but am on my way and when it happens I am worried about how it is gonna look since it dont look so good now. We are doing everything we can to help to help ourselves just because it looks like less will be offered by then.

Here is my thinking, We are able to send huge bucks to other countries for disasters and such, Seems we are now able to allow fourigners entering our country extra help that we would not ever be offered even tho we built this country from the time of our birth. When will someone see that our seniors who worked 30+ years and paid into it all those years should have free drugs? I mean it Free drugs when they go on to their pensions. If we can give so much away we should be able to help our own seniors with their medication. Am I nutssssssssssssssss? Ya ok, slam me now :dyinglaughing: I am ducking my head under desk now.
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grammafreddy
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Re: Geezers unite!

Post by grammafreddy »

I think when looking at CPP, OAS and GIS, one should be looking at minimums rather than maximums. Even averages don't help when a person is sitting at the lower end of the equation as the high end tends to negate them and the hardships they face daily. Perhaps aid programs should be based on the poorest of the poor and work upwards from there? Need based rather than averages-based.

Tax rebates are of no help at all - they either come once a year or quarterly. The things the seniors need are daily and weekly. Is the chiropractor going to wait a year or 3 months to get paid? Or the optometrist and denturist? Or the barber or taxi driver?
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Re: Geezers unite !

Post by kristina386 »

steven lloyd wrote:I collected EI once - for about three months. But like you say, I paid into it and like any insurance policy that is what it is intended for. I've also been paying into CPP my entire working life and expect something back for it. It's hardly my only retirement savings and investment plan, but again - I've been paying into it and that's what it is intended for.



Thank you for your support and your contributions. It's people like you that make my life easier. I appreciate your support and $$$$. Keep up the great work. Thanks again.
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Re: Geezers unite!

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http://www.financialpost.com/news/Canad ... story.html

Canada's demographic time bomb
Paul Vieira, Financial Post · Apr. 2, 2011 | Last Updated: Apr. 2, 2011 11:06 AM ET

Lost in the political drama over the 2011 federal budget was a spending line item that starkly illustrates the fiscal squeeze posed by the aging population — an issue yet to be addressed during the 41st election campaign.

As laid out in the budget, government spending on elderly benefits is set to surge 30% from 2010-11 levels to 2015-16, with annual increases of between 4.9% and 5.8%, well above projected rates of Canadian economic growth.

Dig a bit deeper and the fiscal noose around Ottawa gets tighter. During the next five years it is expected the federal government, of whichever political stripe, will need to find an extra $2-billion each year either through program cuts or tax increases to finance payments through the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement schemes. From 2015 to 2020, that figure climbs to $3-billion each and every year.

“That money has to come from somewhere,” says Kevin Milligan, economics professor at University of British Columbia, who did the shortfall calculations based on actuarial reports compiled by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

But there has been little talk about this during the first week of the campaign. Instead, Canadians have been promised roughly $4-billion in annual goodies through income splitting, education and day care.

“By emptying the fridge with all of these current promises, it is going to make it harder for any future finance minister,” Prof. Milligan says.

The aging population is among the big issues that policymakers must confront, as the labour force shrinks, income tax receipts slow, and the pressure builds on governments to fund health care and benefits for the elderly who are living longer and longer. From here on, analysts warn, the government’s budget-making process will incorporate annual program and spending reviews, such as the one proposed in the 2011 federal budget, to find the needed money to pay for the rising price tag for elderly benefits, drugs and doctors. Program cuts, privatizations and outsourcing of back-office operations are all likely to be on the table.

That’s just the beginning. There’s also the issue of unfunded pension and benefits liabilities governments face from the wave of retiring Baby Boomers from the public service. The C.D. Howe Institute, a Toronto think-tank, has warned the unfunded liability in the pension plan for federal public-service workers is actually $65-billion larger than what Ottawa has accounted for on its books.

Glen Hodgson, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said the demographic shift represents a “game changer” for the Canadian economy, much like the soaring loonie has altered the industrial landscape, forcing companies that survive to ramp up capital spending and adjust production.

The greying of Canada means the country will go from a position of surplus labour to labour shortage.

“There is a huge debate coming,” Mr. Hodgson says. “Provincial governments are a little bit ahead of the game as they can see the consequences for health care. But at the federal level it hasn’t become an issue yet — but it is going to have to.”

He cited aggressive moves by Quebec, from spending cuts to a two-percentage-point jump in its provincial sales tax, aimed at balancing the budget in just over two years — faster than what the federal government is proposing. Demographics are a factor driving Quebec’s policy decisions, as projections indicate the province will be among the oldest in the industrialized world, with people 65 and older making up more than 25% of the population by 2031.

“Quebec knows that a revenue crunch is coming,” Mr. Hodgson said. “So now is the time to get back to balance because, if you don’t do it now, the province is going to be hard pressed to do it down the road.”

Under population scenarios developed by Statistics Canada, the Canadian population could exceed 40 million by 2036, with aging projected to “accelerate rapidly” as the entire Baby Boom generation turns 65 in this time frame. The data agency also warned that the number of senior citizens could more than double by 2031, outnumbering children for the first time.

In economic terms, this means slower potential economic growth in the years ahead, which will ultimately translate into slower growth in tax revenue for Ottawa — just as the provinces demand more in transfers to finance an already stretched health-care regime that has to tend to an increased elderly population.

Kevin Page, the parliamentary budget watchdog, has projected the economy’s potential output — the level of goods and services the economy can produce without triggering inflation pressures — will drop to 1.3% by 2020 from 2.1% in 2010 and 3.7% in 2000.

He has cited demographics as a key factor in sticking to his forecast for a $10-billion deficit in 2015, whereas Jim Flaherty, the Minister of Finance, expects a surplus.

In a paper published for Policy Options magazine, Christopher Ragan, economics professor at McGill University, said the Baby Boomers’ exit from the labour force would pose a “significant drag” on growth. Given population trends and assuming productivity growth of 1% to 2% a year, real GDP per capita is set to grow only 1% annually over the next three decades — half the pace recorded in the previous 40 years.

Such a scenario may explain why Bank of Canada officials, led by governor Mark Carney, have urged policymakers and the private sector to confront the country’s “abysmal” productivity record.

“The implications for government tax revenue are clear: in the absence of changes to the governments’ various tax rates, the slowing of the growth in per-capita income will lead to a slowing of Canadian governments’ per-capita tax revenue,” Mr. Ragan said.

Slowing revenue, meanwhile, is on a collision course with increased expenditures on health care and elderly benefits. Mr. Ragan’s calculates the increase in those costs between 2020 and 2040 as people age will be equivalent to 3.5% of Canada’s GDP on an annual basis — or $56-billion in today’s economy, or more than 10% of federal and provincial spending, combined.

“As population aging drives the increase in age-related spending, provinces will demand greater financial transfers from the federal government,” Mr. Ragan said. “Based on the past experience, these heightened demands will create significant political tensions, the resolution of which will depend on the personalities and the political landscape in the place at the time.”

That political battle will take shape when the federal government and the provinces, which are responsible for delivering medical services, begin renegotiating the health-care transfer deal that expires in 2014. The Canada Health Transfer is the single largest expense item on the government books, accounting for $27-billion this fiscal year and more than $30-billion by the time the federal-provincial deal runs out in 2014.

Under the last deal, negotiated in 2004, the provinces were guaranteed 6% annual increases in health transfers. The federal government has said there are no plans to cut transfer payments as part of its deficit-reduction effort, but experts suggest the increases in transfers may be limited to between 3% and 4%.

“What we have is a classic zero sum, in which the provinces, which are at the front-line of the demographic time bomb, will be seeking more money from the federal government, and the federal government seeking to reduce its liabilities,” said Joshua Hjartarson, policy director at the Mowat Centre, a Toronto think-tank.

His concern is that the future of health-care funding will garner little discussion on the election campaign, because of the difficult policy dilemma it raises. In addition, Mr. Hjartarson said, the political leaders may simply resort to the old debate about how much transfers should increase as opposed to looking at new and radical ideas to address the funding crunch that the aging population presents. Issues that should be up for discussion include possibly handing over a chunk of GST revenue to the provinces, and some form of “tax swap” that would give provinces additional capacity to raise revenue.

“It would be a shame if the election doesn’t begin to highlight the problems in the transfer system. If not, our heads are in the sands,” Mr. Hjartarson said.

Financial Post

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