Friday March 30, 2012

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday March 30, 2012

Budget confirms Old Age Security push to age 67

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is pushing ahead with the government’s plan to raise the eligibility of Old Age Security to 67 from 65, in an effort to make it sustainable for future generations.

The change, which also applies to the Guaranteed Income Supplement, was confirmed in Thursday’s federal budget. It will affect anyone born on or after April 1, 1958.

“We want to make sure OAS is there for people in the future, and to ensure that it’s there for people when they need it,” Flaherty said.

OAS reform will be gradually phased in over a six-year period, starting in April 2023.

Flaherty said OAS will come under huge strain as the Baby Boomer generation, with its sheer size and longer life expectancy, leaves the workforce and its poorest members seek the security program for added financial assistance.

“The Old Age Security program was designed for a much different demographic future than Canada faces today,” Flaherty said in prepared remarks.

“In the 1970s there were seven workers for every one person over the age of 65. In 20 years there will be only two. In 1970 life expectancy was age 69 for men and 76 for women. Today it is 79 for men and 83 for women. At the same time, Canada’s birth rate is falling.”

The government maintains that without reform, the OAS program will increase from a total cost of $38 billion in 2011 to $108 billion in 2030. (Source: CTV News)