Future old people take note

The Harper government explains how its supporters and spokespeople should be explaining potential changes to Old Age Security.

To be clear: there will be no changes to the benefits seniors currently receive. We will ensure any changes are done with substantial notice and adjustment period and in a way that does not affect current retirees or those close to retirement, and gives others plenty of time to adjust and plan for their retirement.

CBC has an interview with Ted Menzies. NDP finance critic Peter Julian says asking people to work until they are 67 years old before receiving OAS is “completely unacceptable.” The Liberals are promising a fight. And they’d like you to sign a petition.




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Future old people take note

    • Did everything predicted in that now-almost 20-year old futuristic book come true? 

      • It was an excellent wake-up-call on the reality of demographics.

        • Did everything predicted in that now-almost 20-year old futuristic book come true?

  1. Flathery and Harper have announced major pension changes.  Last week the CBC TV showed us a private company Harper has set up to “oversee” and “assist” the CPP people.  The weasel they interviewed in this company said “we really don’t have much to do now”.

    This company is patterned after Alberta’s apparent success in establishing AIMCo in Alberta and dumping the 80 billion dollars worth of Provincial control pensions into that company as a start up.
     When asked pointed questions about Pensions the Conservatives answered in the house they could not comment on anything as this was an arms length private company and the Government has no say over anything.

    AIMCo reported a 7 billion dollar loss saying poor investment return on the pension funds last year.  Meanwhile, it is widely reported that Canadian Pensions appreciated 0.5% last year.

    The Alberta Conservatives were busted for stealing Alberta Pension funds see albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2012/01/flaherty-joines-albertas-efforts-in.html  Flaherty tried to legitimize Alberta’s foul and failed miserably.  See
    albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2011/12/alberta-pensions-at-risk.html

    In the interest of our jobs, industries and the future of our families, myself an a great many others will be support the Liberals of Alberta.

    The Conservatives got a huge majority last time with just 22% of the popular vote.  If Albertans take the time to vote, they will be history!

    • “The Conservatives got a huge majority last time with just 22% of the popular vote.”

      I don’t think you quite understand what the accepted meaning of the term “popular vote” is.

      Just sayin’.

  2. Touching a third rail is painful.

  3. Personally, I’m not too outraged by this, but then, I was never going to qualify for OAS anyway, since by the time I retire I’m almost certain that my income will exceed the cut off.

    That said, and I think I’m arguing against self-interest here, wouldn’t increasing the age for CPP eligibility arguably be much more fair?  After all, the only people not affected by an increase in the OAS eligibility age to 67 are people who make too much money to qualify for OAS in the first place.

    Of course, upping the CCP age is way more difficult for precisely that reason, because more people rely on it for a larger percentage of their pension income, but still.  Just changing the OAS age is changing the program designed to primarily benefit (and benefit more greatly) those who make less money, which seems unfair.

    Anyway, this is the sort of small change I’ll have a hard time getting my dander up about (again, with the caveat that yes, that’s probably partially because it doesn’t affect me at all).  Our social security systems are in a much better position than, say, those of our neighbours to the south, and I’d like to keep it that way.  I don’t think that’s going to happen without some changes, and I’d rather us make modest changes now, in a period of (relative) calm, than big changes later when we start to panic, and find ourselves having run out of time.

    This may end up being a winning issue for the opposition, but sorry Liberal and Dippers, this isn’t what’s going to win me over (then again, I’m not voting Tory any time soon, so I guess they don’t need to worry too much about me!).

    • And it’s not like this isn’t something the Liberal government and a supposedly more genteel version of the Conservatives considered before chickening out anyway. The details matter quite a bit, but if the gov’t goes through with this I’d be impressed they had the guts, something that is not often part of this government’s DNA.

      Also, an amateur suggestion for the opposition parties. You need an alternative if you are going to screech about this. Most Canadians understand the arithmetic. If all you stand for is the status quo, you’re going to look like you live in fantasyland and make Harper look like Ottawa’s only grown-up.

      • Harper has rejected any kind of national program to cut prescription costs and that’s where the real money could be saved.  The OAS is just tinkering, while having a serious effect on the most vulnerable in our midst. 

      • “Also, an amateur suggestion for the opposition parties. You need an alternative if you are going to screech about this. Most Canadians understand the arithmetic. If all you stand for is the status quo, you’re going to look like you live in fantasyland and make Harper look like Ottawa’s only grown-up.”

        Very well said.  For God’s sake Liberals, OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE.  All I hear from Liberals and Dippers these days is how the status quo is absolutely fabulous and should never be changed, ever, no matter what.  To me, this is the antithesis of being “progressive”, if you think about it.

  4. I can’t say I am horribly outraged by such changes.

    Note: on 1965, the OAS eligibility age was 70. The average life expectancy of Canadians was around 71 or 72. On average, OAS would pay for about 2 years.

    Fast forward to today: the OAS eligibility age is 65. The average life expectancy of Canadians is around 78 or 79. OAS now would pay for 13 years on average.

    OAS simply wasn’t designed to pay out for such long periods of time. Unless we want to raise taxes on working-age citizens to fund the existing system, something must change with the design of the program, whether that be raising the eligibility age, or lowering the clawback threshold.

    • Good script; thanks.
      It has been the Conservative dream since their conception to privatize the CPP. 

      When they move on a pubic organization they start by shorting the funding. Then they scream malfunction and point the public to the private sector for the cure.

      With a majority they will certainly move in that direction; no reason for them not to.  This is just their first step in doing away with it as we have come to know it.

      • … script?  Geez, read any of my posts on this blog, and it is quite obvious I am not pro-Harper.

        It is by definition that with longer life expectancies, OAS payments will be going up in the future, and one of two things must happen:
        1) taxes must pay for the increase; or
        2) OAS eligibility criteria must be reduced somehow

        I am open to hearing what the opposition parties propose, but I concur with the above, they must propose SOMETHING.  Per above, the status quo is by definition unsustainable.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • Sounds much more pleasant in percentage terms.

            Here’s the facts in raw dollars:

            OAS benefits are expected to climb from $36.5 billion in 2010 to $108 billion by 2030.

            I am saying one of two things will happen:
            1) taxes must go up to pay that $71.5 billion increase; or
            2) OAS benefits must be reduced, somehow (whether that be increasing the age or lowering the clawback)

            A $71.5 billion increase in expenditure is not sustainable without some sort of action.

          • The Harper government have redudced taxes as a percentage of GDP purposely so that there will be no funds for social programs they are ideologically opposed to.  This also allowed tax subsidies for corporation.  If taxes remained what they were in 2010, there would be no need to increase taxes to make OAS sustainable. 

          • Or savings can come from other areas – like drug costs through a national procurement program. 

          • @Sunshine_Coaster:disqus

            To my understanding, the GST cut cost the federal treasury approx $10 billion per year.  Corporate tax cuts cost the treasury approx $6 billion per year.  Revoking the GST and corporate tax cuts will not come close to closing an eventual $71 billion per year gap.

            @JanBC:disqus

            I have not heard anything suggesting national drug procurement will eventually save the government $71 billion per year.  Show me otherwise.

        • It was a compliment my friend, sorry.  Some of the things that are up are simply not readable or so far off the spectrum they cannot be called scripts.

  5. It is a demographic reality that the age of (unfunded**) pension eligibility has to be slowly raised.  I thought the Liberals were supposedly touting evidence-based policy at their convention just a few short weeks ago.  Evidence-based policy lasted all of about two weeks, I guess. The number of retirees per worker is going to dramatically increase over the next few decades. Denying basic arithmetic is not a good way to plan for the future.  Raising the age of eligibility one month per year for the next two decades (or something like that) only means that there will be more resources available to help those who truly need it via other programs based on need.

    So slowly raise the the eligibility age for OAS, and retain (and perhaps increase) the GIS component eligibility at the same age of 65.  **CPP is funded. OAS is unfunded.  

    • The problem I see with raising the eligibility for OAS is the hardship this would entail for those who work low-wage physically demanding jobs.  What happens to these people as they age and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to perform their jobs? This is already a problem for some people – do we really want to increase the number of people in this situation?

      • There is a disability pension that is available for people of all ages.  Should a person get too sick to work to age 67, they could still collect CPP and likely a disability pension.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t clear in my previous comment.  I wasn’t referring to people becoming “disabled”, but rather someone who might otherwise be in generally good health, but who can no longer keep up with the physical demands of their job.  They aren’t disabled, but they don’t have same physical stamina of previous years, due to an aging body. 


    • Denying basic arithmetic is not a good way to plan for the future.”

      Oh, what I would give for the Harper government to learn that lesson.

  6. Whenever Stephen Harper says “let me be perfectly clear”, a real whopper is sure to follow immediately after. 

    • “Obviously!”

  7. I don’t know why anyone is complaining – all of this was very clearly detailed in their 2011 election platform…oh it wasn’t? Well that’s certainly a surprise.

  8. One of the problems with this kind of change is that a rational economic actor makes long term retirement planning on a basis spanning several years (of course, we are not all rationale economic actors).  It’s of course possible to make changes so that they harm legitimate expectations as much as possible, but the more you do that the less the immediate benefit to the current administration.

  9. I plan on doing anything and everything to make sure that Harper and his party won’t be elected next time if this goes through. THIS IS A MAJOR INSULT TO ALL SENIORS . At a time when a great majority of us will be relying on this money as a source of income , because we can no longer work . WHAT A DISGRACE    Not all of us have cushie jobs with huge salaries and pensions .

  10. There are certain immutable laws that govern us.  Beyond ideology, policy and other devices of mankind.  The law of gravity is one such law.  Another is basic mathematics.

    Basic mathematics tells us that our old age security system (like those of almost all other Western nations today) is unsustainable.  That is - the payment obligations (the debits) will well exceed payments coming in (the credits) such that the fund will no longer operate as it is presented to Canadians.

    There are those who agree to recognize this and deal with it (we’ll call those people, the “responsible adults” who actually care about our children and grandchildren’s futures), and then there are those who intentionly pretend that such a problem doesn’t exist (or grossly distort it by minimizing the mathematical effect) and seek to utilize this untruth to harm the responsible adults for petty political gain.

    Our children and grandchildren can be thankful that the responsible adults are currently running our country.

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