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NEWS: Flaherty says pension changes will likely come in 2020

The Montreal Gazette reports, “Changes to Canada’s Old Age Security pension program will likely come in 2020 or beyond and will involve more than one federal budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday.” As such, it would come after the next federal election, scheduled to take place in October 2015.

“The remarks pinpoint more precisely the timing of proposed pension reforms that have caused a political firestorm in Ottawa for several days.”

In late-January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “We’ve already taken steps to limit the growth of our health-care spending. …We must do the same for our retirement-income system.”

The Montreal Gazette notes, “Harper, who says the current system is unsustainable, provided no details, but one widely floated idea would raise the minimum age for receiving benefits to 67 from 65. …Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page released a report this week saying the old age security system was sustainable in its current form.” The Toronto Star has reported, “Orville Thacker, president of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees, said the majority of seniors are living on $25,000 a year or less after paying a lifetime of taxes. ‘OAS pensions are what pays for food and rent for seniors living on fixed incomes and it helps others get by with a little bit of dignity,’ he said.”

Earlier this week, Council of Canadians chapter activists participated in a sit-in at Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s office; occupations in the offices of 21 other Conservative MPs in Ontario took place that same day to protest the possible changes to the OAS.