Canada to give seniors one-time payment to help with coronavirus costs

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will give seniors living on a fixed income a one-time payment ranging from C$300 ($215) to C$500 to deal with increased costs linked to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Tuesday.

Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said the tax-free payments would help seniors who need money for food deliveries and other services. It will also aid those who are taking taxis to avoid using public transport.

“We are seeing a variety of situations where seniors, through no fault of their own, through following the rules and protecting themselves… are seeing an increase in costs,” she told a briefing.

The total value of the payments – which will help 6.7 million people – is C$2.5 billion. Ottawa has already committed more than C$160 billion in direct spending – more than 7% of gross domestic product – on a range of programs to help businesses and people deal with the outbreak.

Treasury Board Minister Jean-Yves Duclos noted a couple eligible for the maximum payments would receive a one-time payment of C$1,000 in addition to their pensions.

“This is clearly not a fortune… but I think C$1,000 will greatly help these seniors get through the crisis,” he said.

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