Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I also thank my colleague Ms. Chabot. It is always a pleasure to come back to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This committee plays an essential role.
Madam Minister, it is very important to have you at the committee. During the last election campaign, both the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois raised seniors' issues. However, our positions were already diverging when it came to numbers. During the last election campaign, you were proposing a 10% increase for those aged 75 and over, while we were proposing an increase of $110 per month for those aged 65 and over.
At the time, we already understood that seniors did not want to see discrimination based on age. I asked you that question the first day I arrived in the House of Commons. When I asked you why people should not be given an increase in their old age security pension at age 65, instead of age 75, I remember you coming across the floor and telling me that it was a good question.
Then the pandemic hit and seniors had to deal with isolation. There was an increase in the price of groceries and the “COVID-19 tax”. We all saw increases in rent and transportation costs. Everyone experienced an increase in costs. There were announcements for various groups in our society, but seniors were ignored.
The Bloc Québécois had to hammer home its message about the importance of increasing the purchasing power of seniors. Finally, a one-time $500 cheque was provided, but only to those receiving the guaranteed income supplement. People who were receiving an old age security pension, but not the guaranteed income supplement, only received a cheque for $300. Again, there was a lot of frustration.
After last fall's Speech from the Throne, the 10% increase starting at the age of 75 was finally included in the budget, but it will not be implemented until 2022. A one-time $500 cheque was also offered in August 2021.
Madam Minister, seniors are still angry. What you are proposing is clearly not good enough for them. I have heard you talk about aging with dignity. But seniors' groups, including FADOQ in my community, are telling me that, in order to age with dignity, to live and not just survive, the old age security pension for all seniors must be increased as soon as they turn 65.
You said yourself that their savings are depleted. That happens from the time they stop working, which is at 65. You talked about the number of people working, but there are also people not working.
Do you know what it would cost to give people the 10% increase in the old age security pension at age 65 instead of age 75? Do you have any figures on that?