LETTER: Systemic ageism puts seniors in poverty

Discrimination based on age is one of the most well-tolerated and destructive forms of prejudice in our society. The federal Old Age Security (OAS) program exemplifies how systemic ageism can even sabotage an otherwise progressive social program.

RELATED: B.C. woman’s research says we’re less biased on race, more biased on weight

The two most recent OAS payments came on Dec. 20 and Jan. 29. At the most expensive time of the year, seniors were forced to wait almost six weeks between cheques. Meanwhile, parents receiving Canada Child Benefits got them much sooner. It would be against the law for any employer to make their workers wait a month and a half for a paycheque. When did our ageist federal government start viewing senior citizens as less worthy or valuable than other people?

RELATED: B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

Ageism breeds poverty. The highest monthly amount that a senior can receive with a combination of the OAS and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is $1,499.77. In 2018, Statistics Canada defined the low income cut-off, or poverty line, as $22,133 for a single person – approximately $1,844.42 per month.

RELATED: UPDATED: Vancouver Island postal worker accuses Canada Post of questionable tactics during strike

The most bitter manifestation of age discrimination is the federal government’s insistence on putting seniors out to pasture. The OAS program offers no incentives for seniors to earn extra income and improve their lives. As soon as they earn $24 on their own, their federal payment goes down one dollar.

The fall federal election is an opportunity to vote in leaders who see our senior citizens as productive and valued members of society, deserving of a high quality of life.

RELATED: James Bay senior’s homemade signs bring smiles

Doreen Gee

Victoria

Just Posted

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

‘The system has fallen apart:’ Victoria woman’s son died a day after being accepted to treatment centre

Victoria man’s body went undiscovered in Victoria parking lot for five days after overdose

Japanese knotweed has come to Sooke, and that’s a problem

Invasive plant is a serious threat to waterways and infrastructure

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

B.C. Ferries vessel breaks down right before long weekend

Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route impacted most, revised schedule adds 4 a.m. sailings

Weather Canada issues thunderstorm alert for coastal Vancouver Island

Severe thunderstorm watch issued around 4:15 p.m. as storms developed over sections of the Island

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Most Read