Publications, opinions, and speeches
A simple way to help Canada’s poorest seniors
Published on 06/04/2011
In their maiden 2005 budget, the Conservatives announced a modest but long sought improvement to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors, the first real (above inflation) increase in more than two decades. But the very next year brought a 180-degree turn in Ottawa’s treatment of the elderly, through a major change in the income tax system. Couples that previously paid tax on each spouse’s individual income, like other taxpayer couples, could now split their income from private pensions and RRSPs so that each would pay tax on half of private pension income. Pension income-splitting does nothing to help single seniors or even the poorest elderly couples who pay no tax. Moreover, the tax break is costly – an estimated $733 million in 2009. A more fair and effective way to spend that money is to boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement for the poorest seniors.
This commentary was published as an op ed in the Toronto Star on March 2, 2011.
ISBN – 1-55382-504-7