The best thing about the federal government’s pension reform is its pending decision to restore the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) to 65. It was Harper who raised the age to 67, citing the OECD countries which had re-set the pension age to 67, and in one case to 68. Canadians were living too long, was the argument, and ought to be working – not retiring at 65 – like the Europeans.
These are the same governments that imposed vicious austerity measures right across Europe, that in Greece have led to the suicides of pensioners including a pharmacist who said he refused to eat out of garbage cans.
In Canada the OAS is a significant amount of money for many retirees without a private plan, and can easily double the CPP payments for low-income workers. Harper’s plan was to force seniors to stay in the workforce, many competing with young workers for low-waged entry level jobs.
But the CPP reform, touted by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau as an agreement that will make “a real difference in all our children’s future lives and I hope for many of you… It’s a historic day”, won’t make any difference at all for today’s pensioners whose incomes won’t rise by a single nickel.