De­ci­sion Time As On­tario heads to the polls, CARP ex­am­ines the par­ties’ plat­forms on key se­niors’ is­sues. Plus, how the other prov­inces stack up

Be­fore On­tario goes to the polls, Marissa Semkiw, CARP’s di­rec­tor of pol­icy, sur­veyed the ma­jor par­ties to find out where they stand on the key se­niors’ is­sues

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -

What will you do to com­bat se­niors’ home­less­ness?

Lib­eral The vi­sion of the Com­mu­nity Home­less­ness Pre­ven­tion Ini­tia­tive (CHPI) is to … pre­vent, re­duce and end home­less­ness in com­mu­ni­ties all across On­tario. In 2016-17, CHPI helped around 32,300 house­holds ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness to ob­tain hous­ing. To achieve our goal of end­ing chronic home­less­ness by 2025, we have in­creased CHPI fund­ing by $15 mil­lion this year. Last March, we also an­nounced the Home for Good pro­gram, which will in­vest up to $200 mil­lion in sup­port­ive hous­ing and ser­vices to help up to 6,000 fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als over three years. On­tario is also lead­ing the way as the first ju­ris­dic­tion in Canada to re­quire homeless counts in our cities and towns. These enu­mer­a­tions will mea­sure the scope of home­less­ness so we can take tar­geted steps to bring On­tario’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents home for good.

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive First and fore­most, Kath­leen Wynne has made life in On­tario more ex­pen­sive. She has raised taxes, in­creased fees and tripled hy­dro bills. All of these costs hit se­niors the hard­est since most se­niors are re­tired and live on a fixed in­come. We will make life more af­ford­able for se­niors by bring­ing down hy­dro rates and cut­ting taxes. We will take ac­tion to in­crease the sup­ply of hous­ing to bring down the costs of rent and hous­ing.

New Demo­cratic Party There are now more fam­i­lies wait­ing for af­ford­able hous­ing than liv­ing in af­ford­able hous­ing, with se­niors ac­count­ing for 32 per cent of the wait­ing lists, up 10 per cent from a decade ago. An NDP govern­ment will step up with in­creased pub­lic in­vest­ments in new af­ford­able hous­ing, based on an­nual tar­gets, work­ing with part­ners that in­clude the mu­nic­i­pal, co-op and not-for­profit sec­tors. At the same time, we must save the af­ford­able hous­ing we al­ready have ... the Wynne govern­ment has re­peat­edly re­fused to pro­vide pro­vin­cial fund­ing to re­pair mu­nic­i­pal so­cial hous­ing. An On­tario NDP govern­ment will en­sure these homes are saved by com­mit­ting to fund at least one-third of the costs of so­cial hous­ing cap­i­tal re­pairs.

What will you do to fur­ther re­duce hy­dro costs in this prov­ince?

Lib­eral Through On­tario’s Fair Hy­dro Plan (as of July 1, 2017), we have low­ered elec­tric­ity bills by 25 per cent on av­er­age for res­i­den­tial cus­tomers ... small busi­nesses and farms are also re­ceiv­ing a ben­e­fit.

Rate in­creases over four years will be held to the rate of in­fla­tion. While rates will rise grad­u­ally over time, the govern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to avoid­ing sharp in­creases. We are also com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing peo­ple with low in­comes and those liv­ing in el­i­gi­ble ru­ral or re­mote com­mu­ni­ties by pro­vid­ing sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions – up to 40 or 50 per cent – on res­i­den­tial elec­tric­ity bills. As part of On­tario’s Fair Hy­dro Plan, the Af­ford­abil­ity Fund was launched … to help On­tar­i­ans not el­i­gi­ble for low-in­come con­ser­va­tion pro­grams and who need sup­port to im­prove the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of their homes. El­i­gi­ble ap­pli­cants are re­ceiv­ing ben­e­fits that could in­clude, for ex­am­ple, LED light bulbs, power bars, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and bet­ter in­su­la­tion.

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Un­der the Lib­er­als, hy­dro rates have tripled, with bills go­ing up by more than $1,000 a year. This is all be­cause of failed green en­ergy act ex­per­i­ments, over­pay­ing salaries for hy­dro CEOs and an over­all mis­man­age­ment of our en­ergy sys­tem. We’ll take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to de­liver real hy­dro re­lief for fam­i­lies and se­niors.

New Demo­cratic Party Our plan will lower hy­dro costs for all ratepay­ers by up to 30 per cent and keep them down. By bring­ing Hy­dro One back into pub­lic own­er­ship … we will get pri­vate prof­its off your hy­dro bill and make On­tario’s hy­dro sys­tem work for On­tar­i­ans. The NDP will per­ma­nently ex­empt hy­dro from the pro­vin­cial HST and pres­sure the fed­eral govern­ment to do the same. We will end manda­tory time-of-use pre­mi­ums that hurt On­tario fam­i­lies who have no con­trol over when they need to use power. The NDP will get rid of un­fair ru­ral hy­dro de­liv­ery rates that are the high­est in Canada. The NDP will ex­pand hy­dro rate re­lief for low-in­come On­tar­i­ans.

What will you do im­prove res­i­dent safety in long-term care? In par­tic­u­lar, will you com­mit to in­tro­duc­ing manda­tory staffing lev­els? If so, what will those staffing lev­els be?

Lib­eral We are part­ner­ing with the Mich­ener In­sti­tute on a Per­sonal Sup­port Worker Reg­istry that will im­prove trans­parency for pa­tients and fam­i­lies and give them the peace of mind that the peo­ple who are de­liv­er­ing their es­sen­tial care have the nec­es­sary train­ing to care for them and their loved ones. With the pass­ing of the Strength­en­ing Qual­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity for Pa­tients Act, new en­force­ment tools, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial penal­ties and new of­fences for op­er­a­tors who re­peat­edly do not com­ply, are now avail­able to en­sure the trust we place in home op­er­a­tors to care for our loved ones is up­held. In Novem­ber 2017, we an­nounced that 5,000 new long-term care beds would be created by 2022 and over 30,000 over the next decade. The prov­ince will also pri­or­i­tize re­duc­ing wait times for those in hos­pi­tals or in the com­mu­nity who would ben­e­fit most by long-term care. The needs of long-term care res­i­dents are be­com­ing more com­plex. That is why we are in­vest­ing $300 mil­lion over three years in new fund­ing, start­ing with $50 mil­lion in 2018–19 to hire a reg­is­tered nurse for ev­ery home, and setting a goal of in­creas­ing the pro­vin­cial av­er­age to four hours of daily care per res­i­dent by 2022. This will pro­vide res­i­dents with more direct, one-on-one pa­tient care, in­clud­ing nurs­ing, per­sonal sup­port and ther­a­peu­tic care. It will also en­sure that ev­ery home will have staff with spe­cial­ized train­ing in be­havioural sup­ports and in pal­lia­tive and endof-life care.

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive We’ll make sure that se­niors feel safe and pro­tected in their long-term care fa­cil­i­ties. We’ll con­tinue reg­u­lar in­spec­tions and en­sure that ev­ery op­er­a­tor run­ning a long-term care home is abid­ing by the terms of their con­tract, which in­cludes – first and fore­most – the safety of their res­i­dents. In ad­di­tion, we’ll build more long-term care fa­cil­i­ties.

New Demo­cratic Party An­drea Hor­wath is the only leader who will launch a full pub­lic in­quiry into long-term care within 100 days of be­ing elected as On­tario’s next premier. We will find and fix the prob­lems in long-term care in order to make ev­ery home safer for res­i­dents – and to give ev­ery se­nior the com­fort and dig­nity they de­serve. An­drea will re­store this leg­is­lated min­i­mum stan­dard of care for all long-term care homes. Ev­ery res­i­dent must get the care that they need, ev­ery day. Only the NDP will en­sure that long-term care homes are funded and man­dated to pro­vide a daily min­i­mum of four hours of hands-on care on av­er­age for each long-term care res­i­dent. We will also make it a right of spouses not to be sep­a­rated against their will in long-term care. Cou­ples who have spent their en­tire lives to­gether should never be sep­a­rated by a sys­tem that doesn’t work for them.

What will you do to bet­ter pro­tect pen­sion se­cu­rity for re­tirees in this prov­ince? The Lib­eral govern­ment has said it would re­lax sol­vency rules for de­fined ben­e­fit pen­sion plans and in­crease the Pen­sion Ben­e­fit Guar­an­tee Fund (PBGF) by $500 monthly. CARP be­lieves that the PBGF should be in­dexed to the year’s max­i­mum pen­sion­able earn­ings (YMPE)

as de­fined un­der CPP. The YMPE for 2018 is $55,900. Will you com­mit to en­hanc­ing the PBGF beyond $1,500 monthly?

Lib­eral The govern­ment has in­tro­duced cer­tain amend­ments to the Pen­sion Ben­e­fits Act in the spring [Bud­get] bill. One such mea­sure is in­tended to ex­tend the re­cent in­crease of the Pen­sion Ben­e­fits Guar­an­tee Fund (PBGF) guar­an­tee retroac­tively to mem­bers of the Sears pen­sion plan. This would en­sure that On­tario mem­bers with a monthly ben­e­fit of up to $1,500 would re­ceive their full en­ti­tle­ment. An­other mea­sure, the in­tro­duc­tion of a dis­clos­able events regime, would strengthen the pro­tec­tion of pen­sion­ers by in­tro­duc­ing manda­tory dis­clo­sure of cer­tain em­ployer-re­lated or plan-re­lated events.

This will alert the pen­sion reg­u­la­tor to po­ten­tial is­sues, such as sig­nif­i­cant as­set strip­ping or the is­suance of ex­tra­or­di­nary div­i­dends when a plan is sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­funded. An­other mea­sure is cre­at­ing an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee within the new pen­sion reg­u­la­tor, the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (FSRA). This would help plan mem­bers by hav­ing a sub­com­mit­tee ded­i­cated to over­see­ing is­sues re­lated to pen­sion plans with dis­tressed spon­sors, al­low­ing the reg­u­la­tor to re­spond quickly to the chal­lenges that threaten pen­sion se­cu­rity. The govern­ment will also de­velop a dis­tressed pen­sion plan work­out scheme, which would as­sist in sit­u­a­tions where an em­ployer is show­ing signs of fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty and may be un­able to meet its pen­sion plan obli­ga­tions in the fu­ture. Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive If you work day in day out for a pen­sion and then re­tire, you ex­pect that pen­sion to be there. It should be there. It’s what you were promised then it’s what you de­serve. Un­for­tu­nately, Kath­leen Wynne and the Lib­er­als have created an On­tario that busi­nesses just can’t com­pete in. Suf­fo­cat­ing red tape, sky­rock­et­ing hy­dro rates and en­vi­ron­men­tal cash grabs are driv­ing jobs out of the prov­ince and forc­ing busi­nesses to close. When those busi­nesses close, their pen­sion­ers suf­fer. Enough is enough. We’ll make On­tario pros­per­ous once more so that work­ers can rest as­sured that their pen­sions will be strong and pro­tected. That is the way for­ward, to let pri­vate sec­tor busi­nesses flour­ish and take care of their own work­ers.

New Demo­cratic Party An NDP govern­ment is com­mit­ted to en­hanc­ing the Pen­sion Ben­e­fits Guar­an­tee Fund (PBGF) to $3,000 monthly and to en­sure fu­ture ben­e­fits grow with in­fla­tion. This is in line with the rec­om­men­da­tions from the 2008 Ex­pert Com­mis­sion on Pen­sions, which con­sec­u­tive Lib­eral gov­ern­ments failed to act on un­til the re­cent mod­est in­crease to the Fund. While the $500 in­crease is wel­come, it is far from suf­fi­cient to com­pen­sate for the PBGF be­ing frozen for over 30 years.

An­drea Hor­wath

Doug Ford

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.