Older adults should like federal budget: CARP

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) gives the federal budget an A minus.

The Trudeau Liberals said they are moving toward national pharmacare by creating a new national drug agency to lower medication costs. The federal government said the new agency will help negotiate better drug prices and drive down the cost of medication for Canadians by up to $3 billion in the future.

Laura Tamblyn Watts, CARP’s chief public policy officer, said less clawback of the Guaranteed Income Supplement is also key for older adults who have very low income and must work to make ends meet. Tamblyn Watts said the budget is a step in the right direction.

“This government has not done very much for older adults in the last three years but seems to be trying to make up for it in this budget,” said Tamblyn Watts.

The federal government says spending on prescription drugs in Canada has spiked over the past 30 years. It’s up from $2.6 billion in 1985 to $33.7 billion in 2018.

This is the last federal budget before October’s election.

Tamblyn Watts said governance changes to pension protection are a good start but must go further to include what’s called “a super priority”.

“First in line for older adults who have been paying their whole life into a pension fund and that is not yet guaranteed and we don’t have an insurance product that would help guarantee it,” she added.

Tamblyn Watts said moving toward national pharmacare by creating a new national drug agency to lower medication costs is a good first step, but must include vaccines in the future.

“Have important adult vaccinations like high dose flu and shingles vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines because we want to make sure that older adults can stay healthy longer,” said Tamblyn Watts.

Also, Unifor Canada said the federal budget sets the right path but needs to go further. Unifor said money in the budget to pay for training and extra Employment Insurance will help workers continue to develop relevant skillsets but that needs to be strengthened with more programs to improve workers’ skills in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association said auto technology is getting strong support in the budget and is good news for auto suppliers.