Mr. Chair, I am not so sure I am pleased for this opportunity tonight. I am pleased, though, to join in the committee of the whole proceedings alongside the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, whom I serve as parliamentary secretary.
During the course of my remarks, I will highlight the measures Canada's new government has undertaken to support seniors, those Canadians in need of affordable housing and caregivers. These measures represent a tangible demonstration of our commitment to those most in need, our most vulnerable citizens.
First and foremost, in recognition of the important contribution our seniors have made in building Canada, we are committed to ensuring they enjoy their later years in the peace and dignity they so richly deserve. Working in conjunction with our provincial and territorial partners, as well as others serving the needs and interests of seniors, we are continually seeking to address the growing and increasingly diverse needs of our seniors population.
Key among our priorities is ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the pillars of Canada's retirement income system: the Canada pension plan and old age security. As the chief actuary confirmed, the CPP and the old age security are financially sound for the next 75 years, even after taking into account the pressures of our aging population.
At the present time, over four million seniors receive old age security benefits and over three million seniors receive CPP retirement payments. Canada's seniors receive over $50 billion in public pension benefits each year.
Included in that figure are the 1.6 million low income seniors who annually receive the guaranteed income supplement at a total cost of $6.5 billion. To further augment such existing support for low income seniors, the GIS was increased approximately $18 in 2006 for single recipients and $29 for couples.