Dignity and Justice for Seniors

New Democrats have always proudly supported a dignified retirement for our seniors, and for programs like public pensions, Old Age Security, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Senior poverty rates used to be a Canadian success story, but under Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, poverty among seniors has been rising, especially among women.[i] Seniors are also beginning to deal with rising debt loads.

Canadians believe that every senior should be able to live in dignity. But workplace pensions simply don’t provide for everyone, and they don’t recognize time spent on caregiving or the wage gap faced by Canadian women. They also exclude persons with disabilities who can’t work or who find their careers disrupted by episodic disabilities. That’s why public pensions and income supports for seniors are a fundamental part of our social contract – they ensure that everyone has access to a dignified retirement. And that’s why we need to ensure that our public programs for seniors remain universal – because no one deserves to fall through the cracks.

For too long, governments have prioritized the wealthy, embracing policies that have made the rich richer, while leaving the rest of us to deal with falling incomes and rising debt. Seniors are no exception – the average Canadian senior now has more than $15,000 in debt and bankruptcies among seniors are on the rise.[ii]

We need an NDP government led by Charlie Angus to give us a real alternative. In a time of unprecedented wealth, we don’t have to buy Liberal and Conservative false choices between fighting poverty and making sure that all seniors can live in dignity.

Charlie will:

  • Fight against C-27 and protect pensions
    Charlie will lead the fight this fall against the Liberals anti-pension bill, C-27, to protect pensions from retroactive changes.  

  • Stand up to make sure retirees are paid what they are owed
    It’s unconscionable that big companies like Sears can go bankrupt and hedge funds get their money back before pensioners see a dime. Charlie put them on an even footing by amending the Bankruptcy Act and Companies’ Creditors Protection Act to include pensions as preferred creditors.

  • Make sure seniors’ income supplements keep up with the economy
    In a time of low inflation, tying OAS/GIS to the Consumer Price Index means austerity for seniors. Charlie will make sure that these supports are tied to average wage and salary growth rather than price growth.

  • Fight to protect dignity for seniors
    Rather than further retrench the universality of our social programs, Charlie will fight steeper clawbacks on programs for seniors, who face rising poverty rates and high costs of living - we're all in this together.

    • Fight senior poverty by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement
      Charlie will increase GIS by $1000 a year and raise the cut-off by $3000 for individuals and couples, and exempt survivor benefits from CPP from counting towards the GIS cutoff.
    • Increasing CPP & QPP Benefits
      In conjunction with the provinces, Charlie will gradually double CPP and QPP benefits. This will give those without a pension a more secure future. 
    • Include women with caregiving responsibilities and persons with disabilities in the expansion of CPP
      The Liberal government failed to include the “child care drop out” and the “disabilities drop out” provisions in the recent expansion of the CPP. This unfairly penalizes women who have to take time off work to care for children and persons with disabilities who have to spend time out of the workforce
  • Give self-employed workers a break on CPP
    Self-employed workers currently pay both worker and employer contributions for themselves into CPP. In an era when more employers are cutting corners by treating workers as independent contractors, this is inappropriate. Charlie will exempt low- and middle-income workers from paying both contributions.

Charlie’s plan would ensure that a dignified retirement is accessible to all Canadians; not just the wealthy few.

[i] Richard Shillington, “Ahead of Trudeau's Budget, a Glimpse of Seniors' Poorer Future,” The Tyee, February 18, 2016, https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/02/18/Canadian-Seniors-Poverty/

[ii] Craig Wong, “Non-mortgage debt among Canadian seniors growing,” The Globe and Mail, May 18, 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/the-unique-challenges-of-borrowing-in-retirement/article35043908/; Sophia Harris, “Seniors going bankrupt in soaring numbers,” CBC News, June 29, 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/seniors-going-bankrupt-in-soaring-numbers-1.3129176