Federal Budget 2024: What’s in It For Seniors?

Federal Budget

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland rises to present the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa, April 16, 2024. The Liberal government has already unveiled significant planks of the budget, including billions of dollars to build more homes, expand child care and beef up the military. Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In tabling her fourth budget to the House of Commons on Tuesday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland promised that the federal Liberal government’s new spending measures will “ensure fairness for every generation.” ​​

“We will build more homes. We will make life cost less. We will grow our economy in a way that works for everyone,” she said in her speech to the House of Commons.

The 2024 budget announced $53 billion in new spending, some of which will be raised by new taxes on wealthy Canadians and corporations.

But despite Freeland’s promise of “generational fairness,” Budget 2024  is a document that largely focusses on helping give Gen-Z and Millennial Canadians a leg up.

Over the next few years, the federal government will allocate billions of dollars to help younger Canadians affected by the housing crisis. These measures promise to build millions of new homes and institute financial programs to help this group afford mortgage payments and rent.

While acknowledging that supporting younger Canadians is crucial, Bill VanGorder, policy chief at CARP (a partner of ZoomerMedia), was disappointed at the lack of meaningful measures aimed at older Canadians.

“CARP has been calling on the government to consider measures that would improve financial security for older Canadians, especially those hit hardest by inflation,” he said. “Unfortunately, timely measures that could provide real help to low-income seniors – like inflation relief, tax credits for informal caregivers or boosting the OAS for those between the ages 65 to 74 – did not make it into the budget.”

VanGorder did say that there were some positives in the budget, including programs to create co-housing solutions and to keep Co-op Homes more affordable and measures to address the doctor and nurse shortage and a small increase to the disability benefit.

The budget also included measures that weren’t specifically aimed at older Canadians but will have relevance for this group, including:

  • A proposal to bar telecommunication companies from charging extra fees when users switch their internet or phone plans to a different company.
  • Plans to crack down on car theft by amending the Criminal Code to create stiffer penalties.
  • Money to create new parks and wildlife preserves in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.
  • Establishment of an Emergency Treatment Fund to help municipalities and Indigenous communities deal with the opioid crisis.
  • $2.4 billion to build capacity in artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Boosting military spending to 1.76 per cent of GDP by 2030, including $8.1 billion over five years.
  • Setting up a $500-million fund to help community health organizations provide more mental health care.