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B.C. seniors 'falling further behind' financially with lowest incomes in province: report


Seniors in British Columbia are facing an uphill battle when it comes to their finances, according to a new report released by the province's seniors advocate.

The B.C. Seniors: Falling Further Behind report, released Thursday, highlights the financial challenges facing seniors, including the rising costs of living when seniors depend on government pensions.


The report found that the minimum wage in B.C. has increased by 40 per cent over the past five years, while pension incomes have only risen by 14 per cent during that same period.

It also ranks B.C. the lowest in its financial support programs for seniors, in comparison to other provinces and territories.

"Seniors I speak with tell me their pension incomes are not keeping up with rising costs and they are paying too much for rent, groceries, dental care, homecare, house repairs and other essentials," said BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie in a news release.

"Currently 45 per cent of seniors in British Columbia are living on less than minimum wage and 25 per cent of seniors are living on less than $21,000 a year. These are the lowest incomes we find by a wide margin and it speaks to the significance of the financial hardship seniors are experiencing."

The report also suggests that the majority of seniors do not have a private benefits plan, forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, walkers, wheelchairs and other necessary medical equipment.


The report made a list of recommendations outlining how the province can address financial insecurity among seniors.

It suggests revising the shelter aid for elderly renters program to reflect the current reality of B.C.'s rental market and to increase the number of subsidized housing units for seniors, particularly in rural communities where the overall supply of rental accommodation is most challenging for them.

The province's seniors' advocate also recommends eliminating the daily rate for publicly funded home support services and providing an extended health benefit for seniors requiring medical equipment. Top Stories

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