OAS eligibility change benefits working poor

Ottawa has other options to address any Old Age Security shortfall than raising age to 67

The federal budget’s commitment to roll back eligibility for Old Age Security from 67 to 65 marks a significant shift in the priorities that had been embraced by the previous federal government for the past decade.

The move by the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau brings a welcome bit of relief for many who will reach retirement age over the next several years. Former prime minister Stephen Harper hiked the eligibility age for OAS to 67, phasing in the change starting in 2023. That move represented a crippling financial blow to those who could least afford it.

More and more seniors are continuing to work beyond retirement age. But that should be a choice and not a requirement, as it is much easier to enjoy working into your 70s from the comfort of behind a desk, rather than struggling with back-breaking labour or performing menial tasks at minimum wage.

The former Conservative government rubbed salt in the wound by measures such as increasing contribution limits for Tax Free Savings Accounts, something that would allow those with extra income to retire comfortably while offering no help to those living paycheque to paycheque.

But the move to return the retirement age to 65 does come at a cost. The costs of OAS are expected to double over the next 15 years and a recent BMO study shows that today’s seniors are nine times richer than the typical millennial. However, the changes introduced by the Harper government would have no impact on today’s seniors, other than encouraging them to pull up the ladder on those coming behind.

More can be done to make OAS sustainable for the coming generations. Currently, seniors making up to $73,756 a year receive the maximum monthly payment of $570.52. A clawback kicks in after that, with those earning more than $119,398 not eligible for any government supplement. Reducing the amount seniors can earn while qualifying for OAS would be a far more equitable way to preserve the system than a punitive blow directed at the working poor.

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read