By Mike Grant and Martin Cook
The government recently announced that, in 10-15 years it will raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67.
Their decision will affect the vast majority of us living in Canada and with the greatest impact falling on those of us working low paying jobs and do not have a workplace pension.
OAS currently provides anyone over the age of 65 with $540.12 a month.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) estimates that “OAS and GIS [Guaranteed Income Supplement] make up 36% of the income of seniors”.
The government is using a supposed demographic crunch to justify saying that the program is not viable. They say that as the baby boomers retire, the program costs will be too high.
The math doesn’t add up.
The plans to raise the age of eligibility would be implemented in 2029, just as the program cost will have started to decrease. The CCPA notes that the “the ratio of expenditures to GDP is then projected to drop from 3.1% in 2030 to 2.6% in 2050”.
The government is creating the impression of a crisis to modify the terms of the OAS so that they are less favourable for working people.
The government is intent on making seniors more financially insecure so that they are more willing to accept any job. That’s not to say that there will be more jobs available, rather there will be more people competing for the same crappy jobs.
To further help out the government’s friends in business, the financial sector is hoping to expand the market in private savings by cashing in on the gap created by the government.
Jim Stanford, an economist for the Canadian Auto Workers union, put together a chart to detail how much you’re getting screwed based on your age. If you’re 20 years old now, you stand to lose over $34,000 in OAS benefits, whereas someone who’s 54 years old or older won’t lose out.
The government’s plan to raise the age of eligibility for OAS in the next decade is a shady way to push anti-people legislation. To avoid the political blow back, politicians have pushed its implementation back 10 years and therefore those about to retire won’t be affected. It’s just the rest of us who are getting screwed.