Poverty Rates Up For Seniors

Senior poverty is once again on the rise in Canada. A recent Globe and Mail article suggests that in 2008 (latest figures available), after an almost 40-year period of steady decline, the number of seniors living at or below the poverty line shot up by 25 per cent. Particularly hard-hit were single senior women, many of whom did not have a high-paying job and are now finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Susan Eng, CARP’s vice-president of advocacy, says the problem is federal pension programs such as Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement are not providing sufficient post-retirement income for seniors to live on. “Despite being warned [by CARP], the government has not acted,” says Eng. “OAS and GIS have not kept pace with the true increase in cost of living – and the indexing formula excludes food and energy costs.”