OTTAWA – “It is unfortunate that previous governments neglected their responsibility to protect Old Age Security,” Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville- Wainwright stated. “Our Conservative Government has accepted the responsibility to ensure that OAS remains strong and is there for future generations.”
Old Age Security (OAS) is the largest program of the federal government. Because Canadians are generally healthier and living longer, adjustments need to be made to the OAS program so that it is sustainable long term.
“By gradually raising the eligibility for OAS and GIS benefits from 65 to 67 between 2023 and 2029 the Conservative Government has made the necessary adjustments without affecting those who are using the program,” Benoit said.
If changes are not made to OAS, the program will grow from $38 billion in 2011 to $108 billion in 2030. During this same period we will see the number of working Canadians per senior collecting OAS fall from four today to two in 2030.
“I am proud to be a part of a government committed to taking care of Canadians,” Benoit said. “Our government recognizes that Canadian seniors have worked hard, paid taxes and helped make our country into what we know and love today. We also recognize the importance of ensuring the OAS system is sustainable and available for future generations.”
Since 2006, the Conservative Government has provided the following support for seniors:
- Provided $2.5 billion in annual tax relief to seniors and pensioners, including:
- Removing over 380,000 seniors from the tax rolls.
- Introducing pension income splitting.
- Doubling the Pension Income Credit to $2,000 and increasing the Age Credit amount by $2,000.
- Increasing the amount GIS recipients can earn through employment without any reduction in GIS benefits (from $500 to $3,500)
- Increasing the age limit for RRSP-to-RRIF conversion to 71 from 69.
- Establishing the landmark Tax-Free Savings Account—which is particularly beneficial for seniors.
- Introduced the largest GIS increase in over 25 years. Eligible low-income seniors now receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples—helping more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.
- Taken steps to combat elder abuse– including expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program to include elder abuse awareness activities and introducing legislation in March 2012 to ensure tougher sentences for those who abuse seniors.
- Introduced other measures such as the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and the elimination of the mandatory retirement age for federally-regulated employees giving seniors the freedom to remain in the workforce if they want to.
Benoit concluded by saying, “By gradually increasing the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67 by 2029 we can ensure that the heavily relied upon program will be available for our children and grandchildren.”