Bob Rae and the Liberals fear mongering on OAS changes

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The Harper Government is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the Old Age Security program for future generations.

As recently announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, we plan to gradually increase the age of eligibility for OAS to age 67, beginning in 2023.

Canadians who are 54 or older on March 31, 2012 (born on or before March 31, 1958) will still be eligible to apply for OAS at age 65.

There will be no reductions to the amount collected, and Canadians who are currently collecting benefits will not be affected. These changes will not affect the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The CPP has been adjusted over the years and is sustainable for the long-term.

We have ensured that the changes will be made with substantial notice and an adjustment period so that Canadians can plan for their retirement.

In Economic Action Plan 2012, we also introduced two new measures for OAS. In January 2013, we will start to proactively enrol seniors for OAS and GIS, eliminating the need for them to apply for these benefits. As of July 2012, Canadians will have the option to delay receiving their OAS benefit for up to five years. For every month an individual delays receiving OAS, their monthly payment will be increased for the remainder of their retirement.

Canada is undergoing a significant demographic shift and soon the number of seniors will nearly double. The ratio of workers to seniors is also changing. Currently, we have four working Canadians for every senior; by 2030, that will be reduced to two workers.

OAS is the largest individual transfer made to Canadians by the government and is completely funded by tax revenues. On its current path, OAS is unsustainable. If we do not act now, the Chief Actuary has projected the annual cost of OAS to increase from $38 billion in 2011 to $108 billion in 2030. That will account for nearly 25% of all federal program funding and is unsustainable.

Whatever the Opposition may believe, this is not an invented crisis. Unfortunately, their irresponsible approach to Canada’s finances would put seniors’ retirement benefits at risk.

Our Government is determined to take responsible, fair and prudent action to ensure that the OAS program is sustainable for all Canadians—now and into the future.

We are committed to providing a secure and dignified retirement for seniors who have spent their lives building this great country.

For more information on how we are safeguarding the OAS program, please visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca/retirement.

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