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

Film crews in downtown Victoria producing upcoming TV series

‘Significant economic contributions to the area’ coming from production

Victoria votes to keep recreational admission fee increase to a minimum

In January 2020 fees will go up by two per cent, rentals up 4.7 per cent

Victoria 2020 budget town hall scheduled for Thursday

The public is welcome to provide feedback on proposed 2020 spending

Candlelight vigil held Wednesday to honor murdered transgender people worldwide

40 per cent of trans people in Victoria report frequent discrimination

A white Christmas not likely for Greater Victoria

Snow could be in the forecast for mid to late January, early February, says meteorologist

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Bidders down, costs up for Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Little progress in preventing sudden infant deaths since last report: BC Coroner

Coroners panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018

Dive team searching for missing Cowichan fisherman

Bill Court said family and friends are actively engaged in the search

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

B.C. woman suing after laser hair removal leaves her with ‘severe’ burns, scarring

Nadeau felt ‘far more pain’ than usual during the treatment

Most Read