Ontario unveils short-term boost for low-income seniors

A senior person wears a surgical mask to protect them from the COVID-19 virus in Kingston, Ontario on Monday May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

The province is touting several affordability supports for seniors in Ontario — but only plans to keep some in place temporarily.

Ontario will double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment throughout 2023, the province announced in its fall economic statement.

The move, officials say, will “keep costs down for low-income seniors.”

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Maximum payments for single seniors will increase, temporarily, to $166 per month, while payments for couples will jump to $332.

The doubled rates will be in place for 12 monthly payments.

“Seniors built this province and we owe them a debt of gratitude,” Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy said in the legislature.

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In 2022, the province also introduced a tax credit for seniors making accessibility-focused changes to their homes.

Around 32,000 people are expected to claim the temporary Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit at an average rate of $1,100 per claimant.

A new Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit is also designed to help “low‐ to moderate‐income senior families with eligible medical expenses. “

For 2022, an estimated $110 million has been earmarked for around 200,000 senior families.

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