Tens of thousands have attended COSCO’s free workshops .................................
Sheila Pither, a COSCO News profile ....................
Understanding MSP premium assistance ...................
Aging well: a major COSCO conference ...................
Availability of services to seniors declines ...........
Insurance deals for COSCO members ......................
Renew today! ...........................................
With federal finance minister Bill Morneau looking for input into his government's first budget, now is the time to renew the call for a national seniors strategy that includes increased investment in home care, long-term care and income security.
You can send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau through the DemandAPlan campaign, which CURC supports. That site also has a link for writing to the finance minister. While you're asking them both to use the budget to support the DemandAPlan calls to action, don't forget to remind them that Canada's lowest-income seniors need an immediate increase in Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement."
News release & media backgrounder attached
Increasing BC Hydro rates drive request for an electricity affordability program for BC's poor
September 29, 2015 (Vancouver) Legal advocacy group, the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC) will ask the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to implement an electricity affordability program for BC Hydro's 160,000 low income residential customers. The proposal consists of three strategies to address the hardship caused by high hydro rates on low income customers:
lifeline rates to keep rates more affordable for the poorest customers;
low income customer service rules including more flexible arrears payment arrangements and waiver of reconnection fees; and emergency bill assistance to avoid disconnection.
BC Hydro has increased residential electricity rates by 47% in the last 10 years, and is on track to increase them by at least 10.5% in the next three years. Rates are projected to continue to rise significantly in future years as BC Hydro proceeds with multi-billion dollar projects such as Site C dam which have been exempted from a full public review by the BCUC.
BC Hydro's rate increases have grossly outstripped increases in income for low income British Columbians. For example, BC social assistance rates have been frozen since 2007 at $610 per month for basic assistance and $906 for disability assistance, and in the last 10 years the BC general minimum wage has only gone up by $2.45 an hour.
"Electricity is an essential service, and low income BC Hydro customers have no spare money to pay higher electricity costs. Since electricity is essential to survival, people can only pay their electricity bills at the expense of competing household necessities, such as food and medicine" said Trish Garner, community organizer with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition.
"About 10% of BC Hydro residential customers live below Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-off", said Sarah Khan, one of the lawyers at BCPIAC who is bringing this issue to the BCUC, adding that "Continuous rate increases and stagnant incomes are causing low income people to struggle to pay for their BC Hydro bills."
BC Hydro offers no rates or terms and conditions that specifically apply to low income customers. The only programs available to these customers are energy saving kits and in more limited cases, energy efficiency home upgrades. While these programs are important, they are not offsetting BC Hydro's rate increases.
BC Hydro has just filed a Rate Design Application with the BCUC, and BCPIAC will intervene in this proceeding on behalf of the following groups to request low income programs: Active Support Against Poverty, BC Old Age Pensioners' Organization, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC, Disability Alliance BC, Together Against Poverty Society, and Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre.
For further information, please contact:
A CCPA study published last week looking at wealth inequality by age group in Canada. As you'll see below, it finds that the wealth gap is big and growing, including within younger generations.
An important new report published by our friends at Integrated Care Advocacy and the BC Health Coalition, about the growing pressures in BC's home support system due to underfunding and fragmentation (read on for key findings and links to the report).
An article about a recent forum about the issues facing immigrant and refugee seniors from smaller ethno-cultural communities.
Tom Carney (North Shore News)
Back in 1998 the late British journalist Henry Fairlie coined the term "greedy geezer."In an article last year, Maclean's magazine called Canada's seniors, "old, rich and spoiled." The view here is that the elderly ("geezers") are living too well at the expense of the young. Some call this intergenerational conflict, others, like me, call it senior bashing.
The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. Around 4 to 6% of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences. The incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
Read More (pdf)
In recent years, corporations and many governments have sought to redefine us as consumers and taxpayers, rather than as citizens. Along with that, for ideological reasons, they have sought to downplay the role of the public sector. They have done so not just by preaching cost-cutting and lowered taxes, but in many cases by belittling public servants as lazy or incompetent or both — and overpaid to boot.
Trevor Hancock- Times Colonist
Read Full Article (pdf)