Media are speculating that the federal Government may make changes to Old Age Security.  This speculation is based on the media and Federal opposition parties taking a portion (literally one sentence from a speech by the Prime Minister of Canada during the Keynote Address at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland) dramatically out of context.  In order to clarify the matter I am posting the following information and ask that any constituent with further concerns contact me directly.

Our Government is committed to ensuring the retirement security of Canadians.

The Harper Government will ensure that seniors maintain ALL the benefits they currently receive.

To be clear: there will be no changes to the benefits seniors currently receive.

We will ensure any changes are done with substantial notice and adjustment period and in a way that does not affect current retirees or those close to retirement, and gives others plenty of time to adjust and plan for their retirement.

In Canada, there are two important programs that provide financial support to older Canadians: CPP/QPP and OAS.

CPP is funded through premiums that working Canadians pay with each paycheque and is on a secure and sustainable path. It does not need to be changed.

OAS is funded primarily through taxes on working people and is unsustainable on its current course.

If we do nothing, OAS will eventually become too expensive and unsustainable.

Our Government will act to protect OAS.

We will not put the financial security and well-being of our seniors at risk.

We will take balanced, responsible, and prudent action to ensure OAS remains sustainable for future generations of Canadians.  In order to understand the strain the simple demographics will play in Canada’s fiscal framework in the medium and long-term future, one has to consider the impact that millions of retiring baby boomers will have on our national economy.

For example:

•    The number of Canadians over the age of 65 will increase from 4.7 million to 9.3 million over the next 20 years.  This means retirees will double in numbers.

•    The OAS program was built when Canadians were not living the longer, healthier lives they are today.

•    Consequently, the cost of the OAS program will increase from $36B per year in 2010 to $108B per year in 2030.

•    Meanwhile, by 2030, the number of taxpayers for every senior will be 2 – down from 4 in 2010.

Background – The Governments record on Retirement Security

Since 2006, the Conservative government has:

•    Increased the Guaranteed Income Supplement for the most vulnerable seniors

•    Introduced pension income splitting and increased the age credit

•    Introduced innovative new programs such as the tax-free savings account and the PRPP to help Canadians save for retirement.

As a result of our actions, seniors can individually earn approximately $19,000 per year or $38,000 as a couple before paying federal taxes.

The Oppositions’ Record on Retirement Security, you ask?

The NDP AND THE LIBERAL PARTY HAVE VOTED AGAINST EVERY ONE OF THESE INITIATIVES. This is the real truth behind the issue of pensions. The Opposition may claim otherwise, but they have voted against increased supports for Canadian Seniors at every opportunity.