All three major federal parties have something for CARP members, indeed for anyone who cares deeply about our quality of life as we age. And CARP members can take some credit for that – your priorities have been communicated to the policy makers well before this election and the unprecedented attention paid to our issues in this election no doubt has a lot to do with the fact that nearly all of you VOTE – all the time!

That message seems to have got through.

This brief draws directly from their published campaign platforms and may not reflect things various candidates may have said in the media. We’ve organized the platforms by CARP’s main priorities rather than by party, to allow for easier comparison, starting with pension issues, followed by caregiving and healthcare. And we have only included issues that are specifically targeted at older Canadians.

As we get more information and details from the campaign trail, we’ll keep you posted.
To read each of the party platforms, follow these links:
Conservative party: Read more
Liberal party: Read more
NDP: Read more

Pension Reform, Retirement Income, & Poverty Reduction

Pension Reform: Pooled Registered Pension Plans – Private sector administered, voluntary, defined contribution, retirement savings vehicle.

CPP Expansion: Open to modest CPP expansion

GIS Increase: Target very low-income seniors o An additional $300 million dollars per year o Would reach up to 680,000 seniors. o The maximum that a very low-income senior could expect is approximately $50/month. o Seniors with little or no income other than Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement will receive an additional annual benefit of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. o Single recipients with an annual income (other than Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement), of $2,000 or less, and couples with an annual income of $4,000 or less, will receive the full amount of the benefit. Above these income thresholds, the amount of the top-up will be gradually reduced and will be completely phased out at an income level of $4,400 for singles and $7,360 for couples above OAS/GIS.

Tax-free Savings Account: Propose to double the TFSA to $10,000/year when deficit is eliminated in 2015.

Pension Reform: A new, voluntary supplement to the CPP called the Secure Retirement Option (SRO). Opt to save an additional 5-10 percent of pay in a secure retirement fund backed by the CPP.

o Contributions to an SRO would fall within the same limits that apply to RRSP contributions, to prevent upper income earners from accessing an unfair amount of tax sheltering.
o Employers would have the option to also contribute to their employees’ SRO accounts, providing a low-cost pension plan for companies
o Employers of all sizes would have access to a large, risk-pooled fund with very low administrative fees.
o Fully portable, allowing workers to continue making contributions as they move from employer to employer.

CPP Expansion: Gradual increase of the defined benefits under the core CPP to enhance the retirement security of all Canadians.

Pension Plan Protection:
o Ensure that those collecting long-term disability benefits are given greater protection in the event that the company providing the benefit goes bankrupt. o Create a stranded pension agency. In the event that an employer goes bankrupt, this agency will give Canadian workers a chance to transfer their pensions into the Canada Pension Plan so that their assets can continue to grow through a secure investment vehicle, rather than having their pension simply placed in a low-return annuity

GIS Increase: Boost the GIS benefit for low-income seniors by $700 million per year

Pension Reform: work with the provinces to build-in the flexibility for employers to make voluntary contributions to your individual public pension account.

CPP Expansion: Work with the provinces to increase Canada/Quebec Pension Plan benefit, with the eventual goal to double the benefits

Pension Plan Protection:
o Will amend federal bankruptcy legislation to move pensioners and long-term disability recipients to the front of the line of creditors when their employers enter court protection or declare bankruptcy.

GIS Increase: Will increase the annual Guaranteed Income Supplement to a sufficient level in the first budget to lift every senior in Canada out of poverty immediately.