Not a matter of if, but when


Peter Van Loan says the government wants to make sure OAS is sustainable “10 years, 20 years and 30 years from now.” John Ivison’s sources tell him the government is looking at a 10-year timeframe. Don Drummond says the government would have to phase in changes over the next 20 to 25 years. Frances Woolley pinpoints 2023.

So the question is not if the pension age will be increased, but when. 1959 was the year with the highest number of births ever recorded in Canada 461,703 babies. After that, the number of births fell slightly, and then dropped precipitously with the advent of the birth control pill. (Immigration reduces the relative impact of, but does not eliminate, the baby boom bulge.)

For an increase in the entitlement age to achieve substantial cost savings, it will have to be in place when those 1959 babies hit 65 in 2024. So I’m predicting that the entitlement age will gradually be increased, in 6 month increments, with a new entitlement age of 67 in place by 2023.


Not a matter of if, but when

  1. And by any one of those years we could be booming again….which would be a good time to shore up the OAS, and stop worrying about retirement dates.

    • I agree in most part, though it brings up a question.

      Since 1950 the average lifespan has increased by more than +15 years.

      I do wonder at what point we start reconsidering what “retirement” age means exactly, especially given that when the OAS was first brought in (1967) it was considered to be covering “very old” people and helping them out in their final years.

      On average now however, it’s not unusual for Canadians to live past their 80th birthday.

      I hate to say it, but perhaps now IS the time to start rethinking how we fund people’s “down” years.

      • Well retirement hasn’t been mandatory at 65 for some time now….so we could just link it to the age that people choose to retire at.

        • There would be a lot of factors to take into consideration. Some people will retire a lot earlier than others; if it’s all or nothing at whatever age one retires, those that retire later will feel taken advantage of. And presumably there’d still have to be a minimum age one would have to reach before collecting.

          No, I can’t see that one as workable…

          • Anything past 65

            And we pay into a lot of things we never collect on. Life insurance, pensions already, pogey….etc

          • The question is “why 65”?  That age was picked by Bismark and at a time when considerably fewer people lived well beyond that age than they do now.  The Amercans increased their eligibility age for their OAS equivalent to age 67 because they considered their system to be unsustainable.  It would be reasonable to at least discuss what an appropriate and affordable age is for a pension like the OAS.

          • @MikeRedmond:disqus 

            Yes, we know where the age came from…and it just became the accepted norm.

            Then we removed mandatory retirement at that age.

            A pension should only be available after you retire….a matter which is now an individual choice.

  2. I support this on principle [extending the age], even if it’s simply a quick, sharp jump up to 67, or adding a month per year for the next five years or something. Whether the OAS is unsustainable or not, it’s reasonable to do it given lifespans and changing work habits. And I’m speaking as someone who’s closer to retirement than not.

    • I understand the need to do something given:
      a) people living longer and longer
      b) the strain boomers will put on the system as the “bulge” moves into retirement phase.

      However, I do have a bit of difficulty in accepting that I will likely have to delay my retirement for 2 years given:
      a) the ridiculously generous retirement package that MPs with 6+ years of tenure get. And, yes, I do realize that in absolute dollars, this is a rounding error – but the symbolism is very strong.
      b) the retirement package that most civil servants seem to get whereby they can retire at 55 with a defined benefit pension and, additionally, receive “bridge” benefits until CPP kicks in. As the defined benefit pension is rapidly disappearing in the private sector (I’ve never worked anywhere that had one), and as being able to collect a private sector pension at 55 is about as likely as winning the lottery, it seems rather unfair that private sector workers are being asked to possibly work to 67 to finance, among others things, freedom 55 for public sector workers.

      Bring the pensions of MPs and public sector workers in line with what private sector workers receive, and *then* let’s talk about raising the age of receiving benefits.

  3. I wish someone in the media would ask the prime minister why he feels the need to float huge policy changes that affect Canadians while addressing an overseas crowd.  And then he drops into denial and communications management — seriously, we just had an election, could have brought it up then, or could raise in the HoC…somewhere in Canada, to Canadians, would be nice.  Slippery fellow.

    • His usual policy balloon audience (small city, town, and rural areas and their attendant media) wouldn’t like it too much. This left him with two choices: Fox News, or an International audience that he was going to see anyway. Pretty easy choice really.

Sign in to comment.