CARP calls for increases to OAS and GIS and Caregiver Support in next Federal Budget


October 4, 2010

CARP calls for increased OAS, GIS, specific support for older Women and Caregiver Support in next federal budget – pre-budget submission to Finance Subcommittee

TORONTO, ON: CARP presented its pre-budget submission to the Finance Sub-Committee on October 5, 2010 calling for better support for older Canadians in the next federal budget – including increased OAS, GIS, specific support for older women and caregiver support.


1.CARP recommends that the federal government do more to ensure that current retirees and older Canadians achieve and maintain financial security as they age by:

• Increasing OAS and GIS substantially
• Placing a permanent moratorium on mandated RRIF withdrawals
• Exempting small amounts of RRSP withdrawals from the calculation of OAS claw backs or reductions in GIS
• Increasing the allowable earnings band for GIS benefits

2. CARP recommends that the federal government do more to reduce poverty rates among older and retired Canadian women while ensuring that they achieve sustainable financial security as they age by:

• Providing additional ‘drop-out’ years from CPP calculations to women who perform unpaid caregiving duties
• Providing low-income, single, divorced, or widowed women between the ages of 60 and 64 with supplementary income

3.CARP recommends that the federal Government implement a National Family Caregiver Strategy to support the millions of Canadians who are providing informal care to an older loved one by:

• Providing them with financial support
• Ensuring workplace protection
• Formally integrating personal caregiving into health care system

The financial insecurity brought on by the economic downturn is particularly challenging for today’s retirees who have limited opportunity to recover. Poverty among Canadians 65-plus is estimated by the OECD [prior to the recent downturn] to be about 4.4% or about 200,000 people. 7% of Canadians 65-plus [or about 300,000 people] in 2008 were living under the Low Income Cut off [LICO] – a commonly used Canadian measure of poverty. Some 1.5 million Canadians 65-plus receive some GIS which better represents the magnitude of those who face financial insecurity in retirement.

Increasing bankruptcy rates among Canadians 55 –plus are another measure of financial insecurity facing older Canadians. A federal report from 2006 noted, for example, that for the five years from 2001-2006, the number of Canadians over age 55 who declared bankruptcy had grown steadily. In 2006, 7,797 people in this age category filed for bankruptcy and by 2009, the number had more than doubled to 15,700

Women are particularly hard hit with historically lower incomes and child caring responsibilities and now increasingly the main responsibility for eldercare.

Millions of Canadians struggle with caregiving duties that often remove them from them from the labour force, causing both immediate and long-term financial distress. According to a 2008 Statistics Canada report, in 2007, about 2.7 million Canadians aged 45 and over, or approximately one-fifth of the total in this age group, provided some form of unpaid care to people 65 years of age or older who had long-term health problems. These individuals provided vital care, saving the public healthcare system billions of dollars, often at great personal expense.

CARP’s pre-budget submission may be found by clicking here