Victoria, BC, February 22, 2022—CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization finds that seniors have been ignored in the province’s 2022 Budget – a move that seems nearly incomprehensible given the events of the past two years.
“This is a very disappointing budget for British Columbian seniors, who appear to have been forgotten by this government” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “Frankly, I’m astounded at how this government can ignore the needs of seniors so profoundly, at a time where we have all seen exactly how badly seniors have done during the pandemic. I cannot help but think that if BC had a Minister for Seniors, at least someone would have been at the table to remind the government of BC’s aging population’s needs.” A long-awaited Ministry for Seniors was also hoped for in this budget but that was not to be either.
“Home care, seniors care staffing needs, long-term care, elder abuse, and adult vaccinations were all missed. Also, seniors will have no help from this government for their financial pressures either – at a time when housing and daily affordability costs are skyrocketing and seniors living on fixed incomes will have an even harder time making ends meet.”
A few announcements seemed promising at first, but on further review, were really old programs continued, or general health care spending announcements.
The highlight for seniors in this budget seems to be the continued program training for 5000 new health care aides and some undefined promise to increase capital investment in the government’s own long-term care homes. Government officials confirmed that there are no new investments in long-term care generally.
Some announcements will peripherally benefit seniors, but are not targeted to them. A helpful $300 million investment to reduce wait times and increase diagnostic scans will help all British Columbians, but there will no details as to which wait times or what scans would be prioritized. Other announcements about mental health, homelessness, and acute care similarly were confirmed to have no designated programs for seniors in these announcements either.
“The Budget Speech declared that it would not leave ordinary British Columbians behind. But it certainly left seniors behind,” says Tamblyn Watts.