moved for leave to introduce Bill C-449, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (monthly guaranteed income supplement).
Mr. Speaker, I am incredibly proud to be standing here to introduce this practical piece of legislation. In July 2016, my office received the first of what turned out to be many individual calls. A woman in her eighties had not received her guaranteed income supplement. She did not receive it because she had been very sick earlier in the year and was a month late getting her taxes in.
The seniors in this country who receive GIS are some of those at highest risk for not maintaining the most basic of necessities. For this woman's life, it meant that she would not be able to afford her rent. We worked with her and we had her GIS reinstated. We worked with her landlord and ensured that she was not evicted. However, her experience, and those of tens of thousands of seniors across Canada, can be stopped. Too often, these seniors have their benefits paused for up to four months because their taxes came in late, most often due to sickness, being in the hospital or dealing with a death.
This bill would give seniors who receive GIS a one-year grace period to get their taxes completed. This will stop tens of thousands of seniors from losing the money that pays for their medication, housing and food. Seventy-five per cent of GIS recipients see an increase in their benefits after being reassessed. These are not seniors trying to trick the system; these are seniors facing multiple challenges, and this bill would help. I hope all members in the House will support it.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)