Saturday, December 12, 2015

Setting The Record Straight

Every so often I receive forwarded emails apparently designed to expose some unpalatable truths about how Canadians are being treated inequitably by their government vis-à-vis the financial support it metes out to 'the other.' The Star's public editor, Kathy English, attempts to set the record straight in today's paper.
As we open our borders to welcome Syrian refugees to our country, let this be perfectly clear: Refugees to Canada do not get more financial help from the federal government than Canadian pensioners do.

Unfortunately, the myth that they do is rooted in a mistake in a Toronto Star letter to the editor published in 2004.

Indeed, this mistake has now come full circle. The Star itself republished this misinformation last week– once again, in a letter to the editor.

The Dec. 2 letter, entitled, “Let’s help ourselves first” stated “Canadian seniors who worked and paid taxes all of their lives are worth only $550 a month, but soon-to-be-voting refugees will get $2,500 a month plus benefits.”
The truth, it turns out, is something quite different.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canadian Council for Refugees and CARP, the advocacy organization that represents Canada’s seniors, all confirm that it is a myth that refugees get more assistance than seniors.

First, privately sponsored refugees are not eligible for government assistance — support is the sponsors’ responsibility.

When they arrive in Canada, government-assisted refugees are eligible for monthly support aligned with provincial social assistance rates – in Ontario, less than $800 monthly. They are also eligible for a one-time — not monthly — payment to help set up their households. That’s estimated to be about $2,500 for a family of four and $950 for an individual. Monthly income support for government-assisted refugees is provided during their first year in Canada only – less time, if they become self-sufficient sooner.

According to CARP, Canadian seniors currently receive $569.95 a month in Old Age Security upon reaching age 65, for life. Lower income pensioners are also eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (an additional maximum $772 a month, reduced depending on other income.) None of this takes into account what is paid by the Canada Pension Plan to those who have contributed through their earnings years.
The vast majority of Canadians welcome this opportunity to help relieve a little of the suffering that is so pervasive in this world. The small minority that does not has a responsibility to at least get their facts straight.


  1. Lorne, this tragedy of refugees is created by U.S and some NATO countries. If Bush had not invaded Iraq we would not be facing this human tragedy.

    Also, I understand, that turmoil in Syria is the work of CIA and Mosaad. When Syrians are busy killing each other Israel avails the opportunity to take Paslestinian/Arab land and build new settlements.

    1. There is much blame to cast for the entire Middle East situation, LD. Unfortunately, neither the U.S. nor Israel is interested in admitting any responsibility for both the past and present volatility there.