IssuesRetirement & Seniors

Retirement & Seniors

First Published: Sep 23, 2019
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Monitored by: Naomi Shuman

Background

The proportion of seniors, individuals 65 and older in Canada has been increasing. Based on the 2016 census data, there are now 5.9 million Canadian seniors, which is more than the number of Canadians 14 and under. The number of individuals over 65 has increased 20 percent since 2011. The number of seniors is expected to continue to grow as more of the baby boomers turn 65 and by 2031 about 23 percent of Canadians could be seniors.

There are a number of government programs designed to help Canadian seniors remain financially independent. Old Age Security benefit is available to seniors that are 65 or older and have lived in Canada for 10 or more years. Canadian seniors with low-income who already receive the Old Age Security can apply for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. In addition, most Canadians who work in Canada have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan.  

The ministerial responsibility for seniors has varied over the year. The Harper Government had a Minister of State (Seniors). When Justin Trudeau first formed his cabinet, the responsibility for seniors fell to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. In the Federal Government shuffle in July 2018, a Minister of Seniors was created.

Since the last election the Government has increased benefits for low-income seniors with an increase to Guaranteed Income Supplement. It also restored the eligibility age for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income benefits to 65. In addition, the Government in collaboration with provincial partners raised the maximum Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits.

Current Status

In Budget 2019, the Liberal Government made a number of commitments to make retirement more financially secure for Canadian seniors and to help them stay active and involved in their communities. Budget 2019 improved the economic security of low-income seniors by helping them to keep more of what they earn through enhanced Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemptions beginning in the July2020-21 benefit year. Budget 2019 took steps to ensure eligible Canadians receive their pension benefits, it enrolls CPP contributors who are 70 years old or older in 2020 and have not yet applied. In addition, Budget 2019 protects Canadians’ pensions by introducing measures to enhance the security of workplace pensions in the event of corporate insolvency.

The Federal Government released Canada’s first national dementia strategy in June 2019 and committed federal investments of $70 million over 5 years to ensure progress on the objectives of the strategy. While dementia is not caused by aging, advanced age increases the risk of developing dementia.

Liberal

The Liberals announced that if they win a second term in government, they will boost Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan Programs. Seniors will get a 10 per cent boost to Old Age Security (OAS) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for widows. The increase to OAS would take effect in July 2020 and would be indexed to inflation. According to the Liberals this change would lift 20,000 seniors out of poverty. The Liberal Party has estimated that the OAS increase will cost $1.63 billion in 2020-21, rising to $2.56 billion in 2023-24.

Conservatives

The Conservative platform on seniors has not been released but previous statements by Andrew Scheer suggest the issues facing seniors are important to his party.

NDP

The NDP platform criticized the Conservative government for raising the age of retirement from 65 to 67 without consultation and Liberal government for not protecting workers’ pensions. In addition, the indicate that the Liberal government has not done enough to deal with the health challenges facing seniors.

An NDP government will lead a National Seniors Strategy that will collaborate with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to make seniors health a priority, reduce isolation and address seniors’ poverty. The Strategy will include a funded dementia strategy and an elder abuse prevention plan. Will make the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit refundable. Will make more affordable housing units accessible to give seniors more choice over the next ten years. Will tackle seniors’ isolation by working with cities to support seniors in the community such as making transit more affordable and convenient, support intergenerational co-housing and create more community recreation spaces. Will make enrollment in Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement automatic and retroactive. In addition, an NDP government will protect the pensions of workers and retirees by making pensioners a priority when a company goes bankrupt, will take action to protect under-funded pensions and create a mandatory industry-financed pension insurance program. In addition, we will create a Pension Advisory Commission to strengthen public pension and improve retirement security for Canadians.

Green Party

A Green government will develop a National Seniors Strategy that will include priorities necessary to ensure seniors can live dignified lives. Overtime, it will increase the target income replacement rate for the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of income received during working years. It will amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to protect private pensions during insolvency proceedings. It will create more long-term care beds in neighbourhood facilities and support innovative home-sharing plans that allow people to live in their homes as long as possible. It will establish a dementia strategy and amend the Medical Assistance in Dying legislation to allow advanced directives and the right to create a “living will” that gives individuals the power to limit or refuse medical intervention and treatment.

People's Party

Bloc Quebecois

September 23, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Andrew Scheer said a Conservative government would expand tax deduction for seniors by increasing the age credit by $1000. This change would lead to some individuals over 65 having lower taxable income and would save them up to $150 more per year.

September 20, 2019

On September 18th In Fredericton, N.B., Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau committed to increasing Old Age Security by 10 per cent for seniors 75 and older, and boosting the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent.

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

The Liberals announced that if they win a second term in government, they will boost Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan Programs. Seniors will get a 10 per cent boost to Old Age Security (OAS) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for widows. The increase to OAS would take effect in July 2020 and would be indexed to inflation. According to the Liberals this change would lift 20,000 seniors out of poverty. The Liberal Party has estimated that the OAS increase will cost $1.63 billion in 2020-21, rising to $2.56 billion in 2023-24.

September 18, 2019
Naomi Shuman

A Green government will develop a National Seniors Strategy that will include priorities necessary to ensure seniors can live dignified lives. Overtime, it will increase the target income replacement rate for the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of income received during working years. It will amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to protect private pensions during insolvency proceedings. It will create more long-term care beds in neighbourhood facilities and support innovative home-sharing plans that allow people to live in their homes as long as possible. It will establish a dementia strategy and amend the Medical Assistance in Dying legislation to allow advanced directives and the right to create a “living will” that gives individuals the power to limit or refuse medical intervention and treatment.

July 23, 2019
Naomi Shuman

Recent polling shows that Scheer’s Conservative Party enjoys the greatest support from those aged 55+ while Trudeau’s Liberals are most popular with millennials. Coincidentally, the day following that poll, the Trudeau Liberals gained media attention with the assertion that a Conservative government would raise the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS, though Scheer has not put forth his own position on the issue.

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