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431-00139 (Social affairs and equality)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

Whereas:

Assisting our poorest seniors in Canada should be a priority for all of us;

The quality of life for seniors could be improved by recognizing the importance of increasing the Old Age Supplement.

We, the undersigned, residents of Canada call upon Canada's Members of Parliament to increase Canada's OAS program to insure that those that need it the most are getting more.

Response by the Minister of Seniors

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable DEB SCHULTE

The Old Age Security (OAS) program is the first pillar of Canada’s retirement income system. The benefits under the OAS program include the OAS pension, which is paid to all persons aged 65 or over who meet the residence requirements, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for low-income seniors, and the Allowances for low-income Canadians aged 60 to 64 who are the spouses or common-law partners of GIS recipients, or who are widows or widowers.

The OAS program provides a modest base upon which individuals can add income from the second pillar of the retirement income system, such as the Canada Pension Plan/Québec Pension Plan, and the third pillar, comprised of employer-sponsored pension plans, personal registered retirement savings plans, tax-free savings accounts, as well as other personal savings and investments, to address their particular financial circumstances.

To ensure that they retain their value over time, OAS benefits are reviewed four times per year (in January, April, July and October) in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures the price of a typical “basket” of goods and services, such as food, shelter, gas and clothing, commonly purchased by Canadian households. The quarterly indexation provides benefit increases to recipients when prices go up. In addition, the Old Age Security Act contains a guarantee ensuring that benefits can never go down, even in the event of a decline in the CPI.

The Government of Canada remains committed to improving the income security of seniors and continues to seek ways to strengthen the OAS program, as demonstrated by a broad range of measures taken since 2015:

  • Budget 2016 restored the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the GIS to 65, putting thousands of dollars back in the pockets of future Canadian seniors and preventing an estimated 100,000 future 65 and 66 year olds from falling into poverty.
  • In July 2016, the GIS was increased by up to $947 per year for the lowest-income single seniors, benefiting close to 900,000 vulnerable seniors across Canada, and lifting an estimated 57,000 seniors out of poverty.
  • In December 2017, the Government launched automatic enrolment to the GIS. Seniors who are automatically enrolled for the OAS pension are now automatically enrolled for the GIS without ever having to complete an application.
  • Budget 2019 enhanced the GIS earnings exemption to further support low-income seniors who wish to work. Starting in July 2020, the earnings exemption will increase from $3,500 of annual earnings to $5,000, and eligibility will be extended to self-employment income. The enhancement will also provide an additional 50% exemption on employment or self-employment income between $5,000 and $15,000. This measure will allow working low-income seniors to keep more of their employment or self-employment income before their GIS benefit is reduced.
  • More recently, the Government committed to increase the OAS pension by 10 percent for seniors aged 75 and older.
Presented to the House of Commons
Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North)
March 9, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00139)
Government response tabled
April 20, 2020
Photo - Kevin Lamoureux
Winnipeg North
Liberal Caucus
Manitoba

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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