Following is the text of a letter which was sent to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
Dear Mr Morneau,
On behalf of Congress of Union Retirees of Canada, which represents half a million retired union members, I want to commend you and your government for keeping the age of eligibility for Old Age Security at 65 and for increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Canada’s neediest seniors. We were pleased that your government is committed to improving the benefit levels of the Canada Pension Plan. We feel very strongly about this – not because we will seek any benefit but because our children and grandchildren will.
The other area concerning pensions that we would like to see improved is the treatment of earned pension benefits in the case of bankruptcy. The current shameful situation of US Steel is only the latest example. The earlier NORTEL case showed how pensioners in other countries were better treated than Canadians with the same employer due to better laws.
We were pleased that there was some improvement in the rules for accessing EI. We remain concerned though that funds collected from workers and their employers to assist the unemployed are being diverted to general government revenue while some unemployed workers get no help.
We were pleased that affordable housing is one of the priorities in the budget. It is a growing concern for many seniors. We hope that affordable housing for seniors is an important part of the program.
We commend your government for its allocation of money to first nations communities. It is a good start in tackling the serious problems they face. It is a good start but only a start.
One area that was not given financial priority in the budget was homecare which your party had committed to in the election. We believe that extra funding for health care to the provinces that is tied to spending on homecare and palliative care is a necessity.
I have enclosed a copy of our magazine that gives you a better idea of who we are. Our executive will be meeting in Ottawa in the fall and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the concerns of seniors.