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Mayes defends stance
Vernon Morning Star - February 27, 2011

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to Cliff Krueger's Jan. 26, 2011 letter to the editor expressing his opinion on Private Members Bill C-428 brought forward by Liberal MP, Ruby Dhalla. His opinion focusses on what he feels to be my lack of knowledge regarding residency requirements of OAS. As the Okanagan-Shuswap federal representative, I take great strides to ensure that I communicate accurate, updated information to constituents.

Presently, in order to qualify for OAS, there is a 10-year residency after age 18. If this is met, eligible Canadians can start receiving benefits at age 65. The calculation for this eligible benefit is based on contributions and employment duration once this residency requirement is met. To clarify for your information, the residency requirement is what Ms. Dhalla is trying to change, irrelevant ofemployment duration in Canada. This residency requirement is not based on a person's permanent resident date but rather their record of landing date as reflected in landing documents.Permanent residence in Canada establishes your legal status but does not establish residency requirement for OAS. Both requirements must be met in order to qualify for OAS benefits.

I would also like to clarify for you that it is indeed possible for a person to come to Canada and work while they are waiting for their permanent resident card and it quite frankly happens a lot. Immigrants to Canada can apply for a work permit to work for an employer in Canada while simultaneously applying for permanent residence if that is their choice. Thisemployment is considered in the pension calculation from the time of the person's landing, not from the time they receive permanent residence status.

In my view, the 10-year requirement period strikes an appropriate balance between an individual's contribution to Canadian society and the economy and his or her access to a life-long, publicly funded benefit. It is reasonable to expect that a person live in Canada for a minimum period of time before being granted the right to a life-long public benefit.

The government is taking a fair and responsible approach to providing benefits to seniors. There are currently 50 social security agreements in place with a wide variety of countries. These allow period of residence and contributions in the other country to be used to meet the 10-year requirement. We continue to work hard to sign more agreements in the future.

I am not in favour of this proposed legislation as it would be costly — over $700 million — as well as irresponsible.

Colin Mayes, MP
Okanagan-Shuswap

Gov’t takes family income when breadwinner becomes ill
Kelowna Capital News - July 09, 2010

To the editor:

Our greedy provincial government is robbing from families who depend on income from loved ones who have been the primary wage earners and are now in care facilities.

The B.C. government has changed the rules for care costs in this province. They now are saying that they are entitled to 80 per cent of this income and families are being left to survive on what is left.

This hits women particularly hard who have relied upon their husband’s income throughout their marriages. If it were me in the nursing home, my husband would still be able to live on his entire retirement pension as well as the 20 per cent left from my income.

How fair and just is this?

My husband and I are “baby boomers” born in the ’40s—our generation believed that the wife was the gatherer and the husband, the hunter. The husband earned the living and the wife stayed home, had children and took care of the household. It wasn’t until women’s lib that we women started to wise up, got our own degrees, took jobs and taught our daughters to create their own careers to end the cycle of dependency on our husbands for our livelihood. No more “barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.”

I supported my husband while he was in university, as well as had children and worked part time babysitting to make ends meet.

Fast forward to today, 2010, and our lives.

My husband, who worked hard at building a career, suddenly was diagnosed with fron to temporal dementia at the ripe old age of 57. His career ended.

I quit my job to take care of him, and within three years he was admitted into a nursing home.

I have depended upon my husband’s income for my livelihood for the past 42 years. My earnings over my lifetime add up to peanuts when it comes to my Canada Pension and Old Age Security contributions, as babysitting, being a “stay-at-home” mom, and a low-paid secretary are not of much value where pensions are concerned.

I am 64 years old and doubt that too many people would hire me at this stage of the game.

How can the government policy makers come up with such draconian measures to facilitate families by taking the only income they have to live on?

More and more people will be entering facilities and at a younger age than our parents. There are no benefits for those who become ill before the age of 65. The public is not aware of this situation and will not understand until the bullet hits them.

Wake up people—you could be next. The government must change it’s policies.

Beverly Horne,
Kelowna

Lake Country receives study grant
Castanet.net by Contributed - Story: 53825 - Apr 10, 2010

The District of Lake Country has received a grant of almost $20,000 from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to study and plan for age friendly communities.

The Age friendly Community Projects and Planning grant program is funded through the Seniors Housing and Support Initiative in partnership with the provincial government.

The grant of $19,997 will be used to study housing and social participation of seniors within the community to develop age friendly social and physical design guidelines and explore zoning revisions to promote living communities.

The study will be undertaken by the District with the assistance of BLUEGREEN Living Communities Inc., a local company that promotes living communities that are supportive and sustainable.

"I am very excited that with this funding the District will be able to explore improvements that can be made to provide housing and amenities for all members of our community, regardless of age or ability," says Mayor James Baker,

"This study also builds on our draft Official Community Plan's commitment to age friendly and living communities."

The study will be undertaken over the next 12 months and engage seniors, various District and community committees and organizations, as well as other members of the community.

The final report will be presented to Council for consideration.

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Don't flush your expired pills down the toilet or in the garbage as eventually it makes its way into water that we all drink.

Pharmacies will take your old expired pharmaceutical drugs and vitamins for disposal.

The drugs are sent to Vancouver for safe incineration. The program is run by the non-profit Post-Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association. Patients and pharmacies are not charged for returning unused drugs.

bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/kelownacapitalnews/news/16258696.html

You will find everything regarding Okanagan seniors here.  We will be adding to this site constantly, so come back and check it often.

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