Welcome to the latest issue of CARP Action Online!

CARP

July 30, 2014

 
Official Leader of the Opposition Nycole Turmel: Forcing seniors to work two more years is wrong

Itís simply not right to ask seniors to delay their retirement by two years to pay for misguided Conservative priorities. Itís simply not right to ask our children to delay their retirement. Read more
 
Interim Leader of Canada's Liberal Party, Bob Rae
Letís Protect Old Age Security by Improving it, not Cutting it

The Prime Minister say that Canadaís Old Age Security (OAS) program is unaffordable. His solution appears to be increasing the qualifying age from 65 to 67 and delaying retirement benefits for two years...whether itís a neighbour, a friend or your kids, you almost certainly know someone who will be affected. Read more
 
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Weighs in on the OAS Debate
PM's latest actions remind Green leader of former PM Brian Mulroney's infamous "Goodbye Charlie Brown" upset

There are few issues as close to our core values as pensions. We have universal health care and its place as a core Canadian value is indisputable. Our shared commitment to ensuring that Canadians have the income support required to live our retirement years in vitality and good health is a close second in sacred responsibilities of governments. Read more
 
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley
OAS is the single largest transfer that we make to individual Canadians, and it is 100% funded by tax dollars. The evidence clearly shows that on its current path, Old Age Security will become unsustainable and too expensive. Thatís why we must act today, to ensure its viability for future generations. Read more
 
Minister of State for Seniors Alice Wong Addresses OAS Issue
I want to assure you that possible changes to Old Age Security would not affect anyone currently receiving benefits, nor would any individual close to retirement be affected. Adequate notice would be provided to Canadians, to ensure they have ample time to plan for their future. Read more
 
NDP Federal Pension Critic Wayne Marstonís Letter to CARP
Marston says kids could learn a thing or two from CARP's ability to snap into action

Iíd like to start by stating how impressed we here in Ottawa have been with the CARP membershipís ďHands Off OASĒ campaign. In fact, in a conversation with a young activist recently I cited your campaign as a text-book example of what needs to happen when you want to get the attention of politicians. Read more
 
A Message to CARP Members from the Canadian Labour Congress
The Prime Minister wants to raise the age at which people can collect the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 65 to 67. That is the worst possible way to deal with the challenges of income security in retirement. Read more
 


 
Click here to go directly to the Special Hands Off OAS Page to see ALL CARP in the News Items - The hits below only represent a SELECTION of the coverage
Susan Eng on Globalís Television's The West Block
Video

On January 29th 2012, Susan Eng was invited to provide expert testimony on the Harper Governmentís controversial new plan to transform OAS. In this video she discusses the implications of such a change with host Tom Clark and Carlton Universityís Ian Lee. Read more
 
Susan Eng on CPACís Prime Time Politics
Video

On January 30th 2012, the house returned to sit for the first time in 2012 where many of the MPs focused on the plans to make changes to the Old Age Supplement. CPACís Peter Van Dusen interviewed Susan Eng Read more
 
Hands Off OAS: Pension Changes Make Canadians Work Poorer, Not Longer
Susan Eng's article for the Huffington Post

His surrogates have filled the gap with apocalyptic visions of aging boomers in their retirement nests with their maws gaping wide for public largesse. The latest is Margaret Wenteís attack on CARP and aging boomers generally. Perhaps they recall how we all sat around waiting for our parents to fill our world with their industry. Read more
 
Delaying OAS could cost seniors, provinces thousands in spinoffs
OTTAWA Ė Canadaís poorest seniors will lose more than just Old Age Security benefits if the age of eligibility is rolled back, since qualifying for the supplement opens the door to other financial support. The average Canadian senior receives $6,100 in annual OAS benefits, but the actual cost of delaying the benefits could be thousands more. Read more
 
Pension reform raises questions about effect in provinces
No federal program is an island

Free bus passes for poor seniors in British Columbia never came up during Stephen Harperís speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Neither did prescription drug cards for struggling retirees in Newfoundland. But there is a link. The Prime Minister has signalled that he is ready to tackle long-term questions about the sustainability of Canadaís social programs as the ratio of seniors to workers climbs. Read more
 
Federal minister tries to re-assure seniors
People nearing retirement or already retired will not be affected by the proposed changes to Old Age Security, said the Minister of State for Seniors. ďDonít listen to rumours,Ē she warned. ďThis has nothing to do with reducing the deficit.Ē The meeting, slated to address issues such as elder abuse, was dominated by talks about the federal governmentís push to raise the Old Age Security benefits age from 65 to 67. Read more
 
Harper finally takes some risks but the PM could be looking for troubleóespecially on pensions
Policies annouced by the PM are worlds apart from the plans he laid out on the election trail

This ambitious agenda was scarcely hinted at in the Prime Ministerís re-election platform just last spring. Sure enough, soon after Harperís speech, the formidable Canadian Association of Retired Persons served notice of its intention to fight any future curtailing of the Old Age Security or Guaranteed Income Supplement programs, even though the Tories stressed the coming cuts wonít affect seniors already collecting benefits. Read more
 
Old Age Security a recurring theme for Federal Leaders
Jonathan Chevereau weighs in

Demographically, little has changed since the Canadian Institute of Actuaries issued its Troubled Tomorrows report in 1995. Nothing has been more predictable than the imminent aging and retirement of Canadaís Baby Boom generation. Read more
 
What You Need to Know about OAS

 
CARP: Find Savings Elsewhere Ė No Need to Attack OAS
Try revamping healthcare first

The Prime Minister should calm fears that a major pillar of our social safety net will be attacked. His announcement in Davos that heís looking for savings that will make our retirement system sustainable has sparked panic. It is a surprising turn of events since they recognized the plight of Canadaís poorest seniors with the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up in the recent election. Read more
 
Click here to read Margaret Wente's Globe and Mail Article "The War Against the Young"
Hands Off OAS
How You can have your say

CARP members are opposed to this erosion of the social safety net especially since the issue has not been put to voters. And it could be a political game changer. CARP is calling for a halt to any such plans and for a full public review of any proposed changes to a major pillar of Canadiansí retirement security. How YOU can Have Your Say!
 
Click here to go directly to the Special Hands Off OAS Page and see all the articles on this issue
If you experience problems completing the survey, please fill it in here.
CARP Pensions and OAS Poll
Many people expect the government to announce they are raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security, or OAS, from 65 to 67 as soon as the next budget. No opposition party supports this change. How would this affect your vote if the government announces this change?

More likely to vote for the government

Neither more nor less likely to vote for the government

Less likely to vote for the government

DONíT KNOW

How do you think GOVERNMENT MPs should vote on this issue?

Vote the government position

Vote against the government position

Vote according to their consciences

Vote according to the will of their constituents

Abstain from voting or miss the vote

DONíT KNOW

How do you think OPPOSITION MPs should vote on this issue?

Vote for the government position

Vote against the government position

Vote according to their consciences

Vote according to the will of their constituents

Abstain from voting or miss the vote

DON'T KNOW

How do you think a majority government should proceed before passing important legislation they didnít campaign on?

Majority can pass any legislation they want to

Majority should hold hearings before passage

Majority should invite opposition amendments before passage

Majority should submit legislation to referendum

Majority should wait until next election

DONíT KNOW

How important is it to you that the government holds a full public review of their plans for changing eligibility for OAS before passing legislation?

Extremely important

Very important

Important

Not very important

Not at all important

DONíT KNOW

Do you believe the issue of raising the age of eligibility for OAS unilaterally is the kind of action that can make Canadian voters change long-established voting habits?

Yes

No

DONíT KNOW

Is this issue enough to make you change your vote in the next election?

Yes - will now not vote for the government

Yes - will now vote for the government

No - never planned to vote for the government

No - will continue to vote for the government

DONíT KNOW

The government says it is considering reforming OAS to contain the increasing cost due to the aging population. Which source of alternate savings do you think is the most appropriate to pay for the increased OAS costs in the future?

Savings from end of Afghan mission

Savings from closing redundant/non-functioning federal agencies

Savings from reversing corporate tax cuts

Savings from shrinking planned prison building program

Savings from purchasing less expensive fighter jets

Savings from increasing eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67, as planned

Savings from national bulk prescription drug purchase

Savings from home-based health care services

OTHER

DONíT KNOW

Eligibility for OAS also triggers eligibility for GIS and various provincial and municipal benefits. Were you aware of this?

Yes

No

If the age for OAS were raised, some older Canadians who depend on GIS, provincial and municipal benefits might have to wait a further two years for them. If this happened, what would be the best solution to this problem?

Change the law to decouple OAS from GIS/provincial/municipal benefits

Rely on provinces/municipalities to pick up costs

Donít increase age for OAS

OTHER

NO SOLUTION NEEDED

DONíT KNOW

CARP argues that any short term increase in the payouts of OAS to older Canadians caused by the aging of the baby boomer cohort can be covered through savings to health care. How much do you agree with this position?

Agree strongly

Agree

Disagree

Disagree strongly

DONíT KNOW

CARP argues that, rather than changing OAS, the government should undertake a complete overhaul of the pension system that will help Canadians save for their own retirement and reduce their need for OAS and GIS. How much do you agree with this position?

Agree strongly

Agree

Disagree

Disagree strongly

DON'T KNOW

If the government succeeds in raising the eligibility age for OAS from 65 to 67, do you think they will do the same with CPP and GIS?

Yes will raise age limit for both

Yes will raise age limit for CPP

Yes will raise age limit for GIS

No, will not raise age limit for either

DONíT KNOW

What is the status of your retirement

Not retired, working full time

Not retired, working part time

Retired, working part time

Retired, not working

OTHER

What is the source of your retirement income?

Not retired - pension, RRSPs

Not retired - RRSPs

Not retired - no pension, no RRSPs

Retired - Pension, CPP, OAS

Retired - Pension, CPP

Retired - CPP, OAS

Retired - CPP, OAS, GIS

Retired - OAS, GIS

OTHER

How comfortable are you in retirement or how comfortable do you think you will be?

I live/will live comfortably

I have/will have adequate means to live in retirement

I live/will live day-to-day in retirement

I am not/will not be able to live comfortably in retirement

The government will pass legislation creating Pooled Retirement Pension Plans, or PRPPs, which are privately administered voluntary retirement investment plans for those who donít have pensions. How likely would you have been to contribute to a PRPP if they were available when you were saving for retirement?

Very likely

Somewhat likely

Not very likely

Not at all likely

DONíT KNOW

Many experts advocate for a doubling of CPP contributions and benefits as a solution allowing Canadians to save adequately for their retirements. Which would be a better solution, doubling CPP contributions and benefits or encouraging Canadians to invest in PRPPs?

Doubling CPP is a better idea

Doubling CPP is a good idea

Neither doubling CPP nor encouraging PRPPs is a good idea

Encouraging PRPPs is a good idea

Encouraging PRPPs is a better idea

DONíT KNOW

Do the long term economic benefits of doubled CPP benefits for future retirees outweigh the increase in CPP contributions on employers and employees now?

Economic benefits outweigh increased contributions

Neither outweighs the other

Increased contributions outweigh economic benefits

DONíT KNOW

If a federal election were held tomorrow, which partyís candidate would you support?

Conservative

Liberal

NDP

Green Party

Bloc Quebecois

OTHER

UNDECIDED

Where do you live?

Newfoundland

Nova Scotia

PEI

New Brunswick

Quebec

Ontario

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Alberta

BC/Territories

What is your gender?

Male

Female

  [See†Results]

Previous Issues of CARP Action Online

January 27th 2012
January 13th 2012
December 21st, 2011
December 6th 2011
November 18th 2011
November 4th, 2011
October 21st, 2011

[MORE]

 
OAS/Health Care Quality Poll Report
The latest poll results and analysis

Not only do the majority of CARP members disagree with any attempt to increase the age for OAS or to try to make such a move without campaigning on it, they make their political views clear, and preference for the Conservative Party has dropped 11 points since we last polled two weeks previously Read more
 
CARP Polls: Increasing Age for OAS is a Political Game Changer
Quick Reference Chart

Support for the Conservatives has dropped ten points amongst CARP members since they announced they would consider cutting OAS. The the numbers and Charts for yourself! Read more
 
Harper turning off seniors with OAS talk
CARP Poll coverage

OTTAWA Ė The over-50 crowd takes a dim view of Prime Minister Stephen Harperís plan to change Old Age Security. An internal survey of members of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) suggests support for the Conservatives is slipping among a group that typically votes for them. Many of those surveyed already collect OAS and have nothing to fear if the government jacks up the age to 67 from 65 to collect the benefit. Read more
 
Pension reform eroding Tory base
CARP Poll continues to generate headlines

OTTAWA ó The over-50 crowd takes a dim view of Prime Minister Stephen Harperís plan to change Old Age Security. An internal survey of members of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) suggests support for the Conservatives is slipping among a group that typically votes for them. Many of those surveyed already collect OAS and have nothing to fear if the government raises the age of eligibility to 67 from the current 65. ďBoth members and nonmembers are calling Ö I think the response is visceral,Ē said Susan Eng, CARPís vice-president of advocacy. Read more
 

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What the Prime Minister Said Then vs. Now
Video


ďMy government will fully preserve the Old Age Security (OAS), the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Pension Plan, and all projected future increases to these programs. And we will build on those commitments,Ē Harper promised before winning the election in 2006. Read more
 

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
Where's the evidence? Experts weigh in on whether or not the OAS is unsustainable and what we might lose if the Government raises the age form 65 to 67


Parliamentary Budget Officer Report on Sustainability of OAS
PBO contradicts Government - no problem with OAS spending


The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), a mandated body providing independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nationís finances and Canadian economic trends, has provided evidence showing that spending on OAS is not a cause for concern.

Seniorsí benefits do not threaten Canadaís fiscal sustainability according to the PBO. For long-term fiscal sustainability, government debt must not grow faster than the economy. Therefore, a program is unsustainable when it causes a material increase to the debt-to-GDP ratio Ė which according to the PBO, OAS and the other seniorís benefits would not do. Read more

 
Policy Paper on the Affordability of the Old Age Security Program
The CCPA's resident retirement income scholar says experts don't agree with the PM


Old Age Security is the basic building block of Canadaís retire- ment income system. But now Prime Minster Harper says OAS is unsustainable.

According to the Prime Minister, the program will not be able to accommodate the retirement of the baby boom generation over the next 20 years, so something must be done. Although details were sketchy at first, Harper now admits he is planning to raise the age of eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67.

Pension experts donít agree with him. Read more

 
Study: OAS key to keeping seniors out of poverty
Nixing it would erase decades of the progress we've achieved in seniors poverty reduction


Research prepared for the federal government shows that the old-age benefits cited by Stephen Harper as perhaps unsustainable are a key factor keeping seniors out of poverty. The technical, 80-page paper shows that without Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement, more than a third of women and more than a quarter of men in their 60s would fall below the poverty line. Read more
 
Some Particulars to Consider in Reforming OAS
Examining the various policy options
by Jason Clemens, Macdonald-Laurier Institute


The nature of the governmentís announcement that it was considering changes to Old Age Security (OAS) have made thoughtful, informed dialogue difficult. In advance of the Conservativesí first majority budget, which will likely include some reforms to OAS, the following are important considerations in assessing the effectiveness of the changes. Read more
 
Letís debate OAS based on fact, not perception
Comment: Robert L. Brown in Globe and Mail


Faced with an aging population that the Prime Minister claims poses a threat to our social programs, Stephen Harper says we need to make Canadaís retirement-income system sustainable. He hinted that part of the solution might be to raise the age of entitlement for Old Age Security benefits to 67 from 65. The government has since softened on this point, and assured Canadians that any reforms put in place will ensure the security of retirement benefits for existing seniors and future generations, but the idea of pension reform still looms. Read more
 
Research contradicts PMís warning about OAS

Expert advice commissioned by the federal government contradicts Stephen Harperís warnings that Canada canít afford the looming bill for Old Age Security payments. The Prime Minister and his ministers forcefully defended their surprise plans to review OAS on Monday, as the yearís first sitting of Parliament exploded with accusations from the opposition that the Conservatives misled Canadians during the 2011 federal election. Read more
 
PMís new policy would force up to 50,000 to live in poverty for two more years
by John Stapleton


How different things were just a few short months ago before the federal election. On March 28, 2011, Mr. Harper kicked off the Conservative campaign with something called the ďFamily Tax CutĒ, a $2.5 billion pledge to allow parents with non-working spouses to split their income with their partners but only when the deficit is eliminated. Ten months later, the re-elected government of Mr. Harper has now found a new way to bring down the deficit to hasten the implementation of his signature campaign promise: by rebranding seniorsí benefits as an unfunded threat, as he put it in Davos, to ďthe social programs and services that Canadians cherishĒ. Read more
 
Caregiverís Diary: More From Serenity Towers
Dad:seems to me there are a lot of articles in the paper about healthy living... I'm not too interested.


My widowed 88 year old father has settled in to his new digs at an upscale retirement home in Niagara. Iíll let him tell us moreÖ ďItís now Wednesday evening, January 18th. Just back from dinner with Cy, another lady whose name I forget, and Mary, a bright-as-a-button 98 year old who attributes her longevity to hard liquor and total irreverence of sacred cows; a breath of fresh air in this otherwise constipated conformity. Mealtime laughter surely aids the digestion, as does the ill-disguised disapproval of other diners. Read more
 
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