On November 10, 2021, LEAF sent a letter urging Minister Carla Qualtrough and Minister Diane Lebouthillier to reverse the negative impact of CERB payments on GIS eligibility.
LEAF called on the Ministers to exclude the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from the calculation of seniors’ income so that low-income working seniors would not lose their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments.
70% of GIS recipients are women. Additionally, a loss of GIS disproportionately impacts First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and racialized seniors who access GIS. These are the seniors who are being affected by a loss of GIS.
We know that we will not achieve gender equality in this country until we have addressed the feminization and racialization of poverty. With approximately 16% of senior women in Canada living in poverty, GIS is one step towards doing so.
However, some low-income seniors have lost or seen a major reduction in their GIS benefit since July 2021 because they received CERB payments last year.
The impact of losing GIS is immense. It has created problems with paying rent, buying groceries or medicine, and affording other basic necessities. It is also counter-intuitive to the purpose of GIS itself, which is to reduce seniors’ poverty. Losing GIS this year due to receiving CERB payments last year has created the possibility of increasing seniors’ poverty and even homelessness.
LEAF called on the Ministers to take steps to:
- Exclude CERB payments from the calculation of income for seniors;
- Recalculate the GIS and other income-determined seniors’ benefits for 2020-2021;
- Retroactively return the lost benefits; and,
- Apply the readjusted benefit amount for the duration of the 2021-2022 year.
You can read and download our letter below.20211110-LEAF-Letter-to-Ministers-re-CERB-and-GIS