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Ontario Supporting Seniors in the Northwest

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Ontario Supporting Seniors in the Northwest

Province Helping Seniors Stay in Their Local Community and Get the Care They Need

Ontario is helping seniors in Marathon and across the Northwest access the care they need by investing in the Marathon Seniors' Complex and making prescription drugs free for everyone 65 and over. 

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, was at Marathon Town Hall to announce the province's support for the new Marathon Seniors' Complex, which will benefit from new common areas, including the lobby, multi-purpose dining room, activity lounge and resource library.

The seniors' complex will meet the needs of low- to moderate-income seniors that require support to maintain an independent lifestyle. It will fill a significant gap between independent living and long-term care by providing a barrier-free, modern option that promotes seniors' well-being.

The town is receiving funding for the new seniors complex through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The project is expected to create six full-time and six part-time jobs.

The government is also expanding access to OHIP+ to seniors across the province. Starting August 1, 2019, anyone aged 65 or older will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment and would be able to present their eligible prescription and OHIP number at any Ontario pharmacy and receive more than 4,400 prescription drugs for free. By expanding OHIP+, which already covers youth under 25, to seniors in Budget 2018, people 65 and over will now save an average of $240 every year. Prescription drugs covered by this program include medications for cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid conditions, diabetes and asthma.

Today's announcement builds on other new initiatives and steps taken to improve care and make life more affordable for seniors in Ontario, including:

  • A new Seniors' Healthy Home Program, providing a benefit of up to $750 annually for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them live independently and offset the costs of maintaining their homes
  • A new dental program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person or $600 per couple, of eligible dental expenses each year for those without workplace health benefits
  • The Seniors' Public Transit Tax Credit introduced in 2017 and saving seniors up to $450 a year on travel costs
  • $17 million per year to provide a high-dose flu vaccine free of charge to seniors, beginning in 2018-19
  • A free shingles vaccination now available for roughly 850,000 seniors between the ages of 65 and 70, saving them an additional $170 and helping to keep them healthy
  • Ontario's leadership in achieving an enhanced Canada Pension Plan, which will result in greater retirement security for today's workers
  • Aging with Confidence: Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors, released in November 2017.

Helping seniors in the North age with confidence, respect and dignity is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Through the NOHFC’s Strategic Economic Infrastructure Program, the Town of Marathon is receiving $1,725,625 towards the construction of the common space areas in the new seniors’ complex.
  • Currently, everyone 65 and over is eligible for prescription drug coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program, which requires seniors to pay deductibles and co-payments based on their income and other factors. Under the ODB, seniors are paying an average of $240 a year for their medications.
  • This expansion of OHIP+ will eliminate the ODB’s deductible and co-payments for seniors, making over 4,400 medications completely free for everyone 65 and older who is OHIP-insured. Ontario will invest approximately $575 million by 2020–21 to align our seniors program with OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.
  • Seniors (65 years and older) are Ontario’s fastest-growing age group. By 2041, it is projected that 25 per cent of Ontario’s population will be 65 years or older, almost doubling from 2016 to 4.6 million seniors.
  • Ontario’s 2018 Budget will expand the NOHFC, introduce new programs and increase funding by 50 per cent, representing $85 million over the next three years, to grow and diversify the economy and attract further investments.

Additional Resources


“Taking care of seniors in the Northwest, so that they can stay close to home and live happy, healthy, independent lives is what these investments are all about. By making the Marathon Seniors’ Complex the best it can be, and by expanding OHIP+ to cover seniors 65 and over, we’re showing our government’s continued commitment to supporting seniors at all stages of their lives — here in Marathon and across Northern Ontario.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the NOHFC

“Everybody in this province, no matter their age, deserves the chance to lead healthy, happy lives. Providing prescription drugs to seniors at no cost moves us one step closer to the goal of pharmacare for all in Ontario.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Through investments like this, Ontario is furthering its goal of being the best place in the world to grow older. Providing the supports seniors need to be independent, healthy and active, safe and socially connected, is a priority of our government. Ensuring seniors have access to free prescription drugs will help them remain healthy, so they can live their best lives.”

Dipika Damerla

Minister of Seniors Affairs

“Thanks to the province, Minister Gravelle and the NOHFC for investing in the shared spaces at the Marathon Seniors’ Complex. The new facility will ensure more local seniors have the opportunity to stay in our great community and get the high quality care and support they need to maintain an active and independent lifestyle.”

Rick Dumas

Mayor of the Town of Marathon

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