CURC

Open letter to finance ministers from Seniors Vote

To all Ministers of Finance and Opposition Finance Critics

Seniors Vote is a collaboration of seniors, retirees, professional and advocacy groups raising common concerns which particularly resonate with older Canadians – financial security in retirement and healthcare reform. The attached details the recommendations for the upcoming federal budget and our priority issues for the 2015 federal election.

It is now common knowledge that older Canadians are the most committed voters; 65% or more of older voters turnout to vote regularly. Older Canadians are also among the most politically engaged voters whose past party loyalty cannot be taken for granted. This has led all political parties to ask: “What do seniors want?”

And the answer has been the call for the kind of transformative change in our public systems that will make life better for all Canadians as they age. Many such reforms will only benefit future generations.

Seniors Vote calls for pension reform to ensure that people will not outlive their money by expanding access to pension savings and increasing income support.

The call for healthcare reform demands that Canadians not be treated as health consumers or merely patients, but rather as “healthcare citizens” who pay for the system and expect it to serve the broad values set out in the Canada Health Act – universality, accessibility and comprehensiveness. To do this, the healthcare system must undergo transformative change and centre itself around the needs and expectations of the healthcare citizen, to not only provide medical intervention but also support prevention and social determinants of health, the family caregiver and end-of-life care.

Seniors want to stay in their own homes but too often programs like homecare are not there for them to do so. There is a need for a national housing strategy that includes seniors housing. Access to affordable and suitable housing is a major determinant of health, an instrument to reduce poverty and a critical component of age-friendly communities.

Income inequality is growing in Canada. More seniors are falling below the poverty line. Seniors are also concerned that too many of their children and grandchildren are facing precarious work and a bleak future.

It is clear that Seniors indeed vote. This sets out what Seniors will vote for. Today’s ballot questions are the blueprint for our children’s tomorrow.

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