Home safety tax credit for seniors announced

The Ontario government is taking action in Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover to help seniors stay in their homes longer through a new proposed Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for the 2021 taxation year. 

Local MPP Bill Walker made the announcement on Friday, November 13th in Owen Sound saying that the supports are especially important for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, which has a higher-than-average population of senior citizens.

“Our government recognizes the contribution seniors have made to our communities, our province and our country,” said MPP Walker. “We are helping keep our seniors safe during the pandemic and providing a diverse range of programs each day promoting wellness, social interaction in a safe manner and education to help them stay active, independent and engaged. This is especially important to us here in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound where we have a high population of senior citizens.”

This would provide seniors and family members they live with a 25 per cent credit on eligible renovations of up to $10,000 to make their homes safer and more accessible. It would support seniors regardless of their income and whether they owe income tax for 2021.

For example, an Ontario senior, or family members living with a senior, would receive a maximum of $2,500 back for a $10,000 renovation to make their home safer for eligible expenses, such as grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower, wheelchair ramps, stair lifts and elevators. The tax credit would also be available for renovations to permit first floor occupancy, or a secondary suite for a senior.

In addition, the government is also investing $25 million to support seniors through programs and initiatives focused on community renewal, growth and economic recovery, including:

  • $10.9 million in additional supports for infection prevention and control and PPE in retirement homes, on top of $20 million already delivered to the sector
  • $5 million for delivery of food and medicine through an extension of the Ontario Community Support Program,  adding to the $11 million investment first announced in April
  • Up to $4 million for 165 diverse local projects to keep seniors safe and engaged at home through the 2020-21 Seniors Community Grant Program
  • An additional $3.1 million in 2021-22 to support virtual social programs for seniors through Ontario’s network of Seniors Active Living Centres (SALCs) – an increase in funding of 22 per cent, bringing the total investment to $17.2 million
  • An additional $2 million over the next two years for the new Inclusive Community Grants program. This brings the total investment to $3.5 million to help municipalities and organizations develop community-level plans to support ageing-in-the-community

According to Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, in a media release, “Providing tax savings for renovations and community-based program supports will give seniors and their families practical help to make this happen. These investments will help keep our seniors safe, while also combatting social isolation.”

‘Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover’ is the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The plan sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make the necessary health resources available to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

The Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit would cost about $30 million and benefit about 27,000 people across Ontario, including seniors and people who live with senior relatives.

To claim the tax credit, seniors or their family members should get receipts from suppliers and contractors for work paid for in 2021.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker (right) with Owen Sound Ontario Home Health owner Rick Gautreau

The government is also providing funding for seniors through three programs:

Ontario’s Inclusive Community Grants Program also gives municipalities, local governments, community organizations and Indigenous groups up to $60,000 for local accessible and age-friendly projects.

The 2020-21 Seniors Community Grant Program will help non-profit organizations, local services boards and Indigenous groups develop programs to keep seniors engaged, reduce isolation, promote well-being and lower the risk of abuse and fraud.

The Ontario Community Support Program works with local volunteer organizations to deliver meals, medicine and other essentials to low-income seniors and people with disabilities and has delivered nearly 490,000 meals, food hampers and essential supplies to vulnerable individuals since April, 2020.