Dear CARP members,
Events around the world and our aging population make it clear that we need to make responsible decisions soon in order to ensure that our social programs in Canada remain sustainable for the long term.
Since Old Age Security (OAS) was introduced, our country has changed a great deal. Our population is aging, with the first of the baby boomers starting to retire. Yet the program itself has not been adjusted, unlike CPP which is now rock solid for at least the next 75 years.
By 2030, Canada will have twice as many retirees supported by half as many working Canadians, proportionately. Canadians are also living longer, healthier lives, which means that we are collecting OAS for a longer period of time. With all of those things considered, the cost of OAS will triple from $36B to $108B in less than twenty years.
OAS is the single largest transfer that we make to individual Canadians, and it is 100% funded by tax dollars. The evidence clearly shows that on its current path, Old Age Security will become unsustainable and too expensive. That’s why we must act today, to ensure its viability for future generations.
If we don’t make smart decisions now while we still have some flexibility, it will only make decisions more difficult in the long run. We cannot afford to ignore the issue and put the OAS program in jeopardy.
Let me reassure you that seniors who are currently receiving benefits – or those very close to retirement – will not lose one cent because of any potential changes. Any change to OAS will be implemented gradually, giving Canadians time to plan and prepare and adjust for their retirement.
The Harper Government is committed to protecting seniors’ retirement income, and we will take a fair and responsible approach to ensuring that OAS is available for future generations of Canadians.
Honourable Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development