Mr. Speaker, as I have mentioned already, the government has been focused on supporting Canadian seniors, particularly low income seniors.
The additional GIS top-up is over $300 million annually and will benefit over 680,000 of our lowest income seniors. It is the most significant increase in a quarter century. When combined with the 2006 and 2007 GIS increases, the government has provided over a billion dollars per year in annual benefits to GIS recipients over and above the regular index.
The GIS top-up was designed to target the lowest income seniors who are the most in need. This includes approximately 460,000 women, many of whom have made a valuable contribution to their families, their communities and Canadian society.
Targeted benefits to the lowest income seniors allow resources to be used effectively. In the current fiscal environment, we believe this is fiscally responsible.