For many seniors in British Columbia, financial stability can be a challenge. Fortunately, both government and private sector programs aim to make life more affordable for those aged 65 and older. Here, we’ll explore various options available to seniors, from free or low-cost classes and recreational opportunities to subsidized transportation and even affordable smartphone and internet plans.
Social and Educational Opportunities
Local libraries, the YMCA, and your local rec centre
Libraries are a treasure trove of resources—not just for books, but for community programs as well. Many libraries offer free courses that teach seniors new skills, such as using a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Have you heard about digital e-readers? Learn to borrow and open digital library books on an e-reader device—a Kobo or Kindle or via a free reading app available for download onto your phone or tablet—and unlock the world of books from the comfort of your home. Libraries are also terrific places to learn a new language or get involved in community art projects. For more information about services and programs available at the Vancouver Public Library system, visit their website here.
Similarly, some YMCA centres provide seniors with free or reduced-fee classes in yoga, aqua aerobics, and more. We are lucky in BC to have access to public recreation centres. The City of Vancouver offers the Leisure Access Program (LAP), which provides lower-income seniors living in Vancouver with access to free and reduced-cost activities and recreational services at all Vancouver Park Board facilities. This includes pools, gyms and fitness centres, pitch & putt golf courses, and reduced or free admission to popular Vancouver attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium, the HR MacMillan Space Centre, the VanDusen Botanical Garden, and more! Apply here!
Financial Support from Government
Seniors in British Columbia are well-supported through various programs offered by the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada. These include the Senior’s Supplement and BC Bus Pass for eligible low-income seniors residing in BC.
Most seniors transition from income, disability, or hardship assistance to Canada’s public pension programs, such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Income Assistance After Age 65
However, some seniors may still be eligible for additional financial support after they turn 65, depending on their income and other circumstances. For example, if they are in the process of applying for Canada’s pension programs, or their income from these programs is less than the amount of assistance they are eligible for, they may receive a top-up.
Staying Connected with Telus’s Mobility for Good
Communication is vital, and the Telus For Good program provides an affordable option for seniors. Mobility for Good offers Canadian seniors receiving a Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) amount of $6,500 or more annually access to a discounted smartphone and subsidized mobility rate plan. This helps seniors stay connected to loved ones and access important resources and information.
The Canadian government and private organizations offer an array of resources aimed at making life more comfortable for seniors. From pension programs to subsidized transport and even smartphones, there’s a lot available to help you live an enriching and sustainable life in your later years.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP): A monthly, taxable benefit that replaces part of an individual’s employment income upon retirement.
Old Age Security (OAS): For individuals aged 65 or older, not tied to employment status.
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): A supplement for low-income seniors who receive OAS.
Senior’s Supplement: A provincial top-up to GIS.
BC Bus Pass: An annual bus pass (Compass Card) with an administration fee of $45, covering BC provincial transit systems. For more information click here!