Mr. Speaker, the answer to whether this government is prepared to step up for seniors in this country, and commit to a strategy was evident in the vote that was taken in the House just a few weeks ago. Motion No. 106 is being studied at committee now, and this government is committed to making sure a national seniors strategy comes into existence. We are not waiting for gestures or symbolic statements, or even criticism from parliamentarians who seem more intent on criticizing than producing for seniors based on their voting record.
When this government took office, significant improvements were made to the quality of life for seniors right across the country, in particular, vulnerable seniors living in poverty. The first thing we did was move toward the guaranteed income supplement increase, and targeted in particular seniors who are single, the majority of whom are women. We lifted them straight out of poverty with a 10% increase to the GIS.
The second thing we did, against all predictions and expectations, is negotiate a national framework to improve the Canadian pension plan, not just for now but for generations to come. That move is historic, and was predicted to fail by all the opposition parties. They told us not to even try, yet we did it.
The third thing we did, which is just as important, is recognize the move by the previous government to change the age of retirement from 65 to 67 with no consultation, no input from Parliament, let alone Canadians and seniors. We reduced that, because that particular move put seniors in the most vulnerable category even further into an area of precarious income. We helped seniors live out their retirement in a positive way with support from the government, support from the country, the country they helped to build.
Those three measures alone would be good enough for most people, but we did not stop there. The next thing we did, as part of our movement toward the national housing strategy, is we did not wait for the strategy and agreement with the provinces, we moved immediately to put $200 million into new seniors housing. Why? Because seniors need to be cared for and to live in safe environments, supported in those safe environments primarily through shelter support.
That is why this government moved on the seniors housing file immediately. We did not wait for two years or 10 years, we did it in the first budget. That money was put into last year's budget 2016. It was a two-year commitment that now leads to an 11-year commitment to provide a permanent, and for the first time in this country's history, national housing strategy. It is not just extending past the next election, it extends past the next two elections, and is bound with legal agreements with the provinces.
The parties opposite think that somehow when we sign agreements with the provinces, some election can rip it all up. The Martin health accord showed how extraordinarily effective federal-provincial agreements are at sustaining core funding, base funding, and new funding for the period of a decade. The national housing strategy will also move toward supporting seniors in their vulnerable years.
In this year's budget, we have also committed to renewing the operating agreements for public housing. We know, particularly in the co-op sector, that many people who started co-ops 10, 15, and 25 years ago are now seniors. They are on fixed incomes. As their incomes drop, these operating agreements are becoming even more critical in order to support their lives.
We also augmented the health accord, again opposed by the opposite side, a health care accord that guarantees funding for palliative care and home care. We have invested real dollars into housing supports, service supports for home care, as well as mental health care. We know that seniors, with the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia, are increasingly finding themselves in that situation. We have put additional dollars into health accords targeted specifically, binding provinces to spend in terms of priority areas of requirement, a policy to make sure that those needs are met, not just with medical dollars but also with housing dollars.
When it comes to seniors and taking care of Canadians in precarious situations, and Canadians with low income dynamics, this government is not just committed to removing poverty, it is committed to making sure that seniors thrive in our society, and that we care for them, because that is our duty as parliamentarians.