Message from Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Darryl Plecas

The provincial budget was recently introduced, and with it came the announcement of enhancements to Medical Services Plan (MSP) premium assistance programs that I would like to share. These changes will help reduce costs for many seniors.
The new changes take effect in 2017. A single senior earning up to $45,000 a year may qualify for reduced premiums, and a senior couple earning up to $51,000 may also qualify. This means savings of approximately $240 -$480 per year.
MSP premium assistance makes a difference for seniors, especially those on a fixed income. Applying for MSP premium assistance is straightforward. In fact, for those British Columbians who think they qualify but haven’t applied, assistance may be provided retroactively to a maximum of six years.
To find out if you qualify for assistance, check out the MSP premium assistance eligibility calculator:

More information about applying for assistance can be found by calling toll free, 1-800-663-7100. Also, please visit the following government website for details:
Thank you,
Darryl Plecas
Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health

For more information about seniors’ services and supports, visit

Tax Time information for Seniors

The following was taken from the January newsletter of The Office of the Seniors Advocate (BC) and is timely information for seniors.

Tax Time Coming
The OSA is reminding seniors to file tax returns. Even if
you don’t earn enough income to file income taxes, it is
still important to do so. There are a number of income
supports that rely on your tax return for eligibility. These
include the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement
and Old Age Security programs, as well as a number
of provincial programs, including:

The Senior’s Supplement, which provides a monthly
payment of $49.30

Medical Services Plan (MSP) Premium Assistance,
which offers reduced monthly premiums on a sliding
scale, with households earning less than $22,000
paying no monthly fee

The BC Bus Pass Program, which provides an annual
bus pass for only $45

Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics exist in a number of
B.C. communities to help you fill out your forms for free.
To find one near you, call 1-800-959-8281or visit

B.C. Seniors may also be eligible
for the following subsidies:

Fair PharmaCare subsidizes costs for eligible drugs.

Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) provides
monthly payments to subsidize rents for low and
moderate income seniors. 1.800.257.7756

Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)
provides grants to low-income seniors to
modify their homes. 1.800.257.7756

Property Tax Deferment Program allows seniors
to defer paying property taxes. 1.888.355.2700

Housing for All – Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) created this short video, Housing for All, outlining some of the current problems with social housing in Canada, and pointing out what will happen if these problems continue. This information is important for every Canadian to know. If we do not support social housing options for those that need them, those options may disappear. If social housing is not available then some of our most vulnerable citizens may be forced into homelessness.

People that live in social housing pay rent, and contribute to society, but may be on a fixed income that is much lower than most of us are used to. Without social housing programs these people would not be able to afford housing.

Please visit the Housing for All page on the CHRA website to learn more, and then share that knowledge with people you know.