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BC Federation of Retired Union

From The Advocate, March 2012

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Fair is fair in pension plans

OAS is Canada’s most basic safety net


Published March, 2012 - OAS is Canada’s most basic safety net program. The allowance tops out at $540 per month - hardly a generous amount. Moreover, the program is income tested. The full payment is only available for retirees who earn less than $68,000 per year.

More importantly, OAS is part of our social contract. It was introduced in 1951 with a rare constitutional amendment, making it as close to a solemn promise as any legislative scheme gets.

While a two-year deferral of payments may not sound dramatic, it would cost the neediest Canadians $12,960. Is that really what the prime minister has in mind? ...

By comparison, our MPs are eligible for a minimum pension of $40,000, which they can collect at 55, after only six years in Parliament. Moreover, while most work-based pensions are equally funded by the employer and the employee, taxpayers finance virtually all of the MPs’ pension scheme. For every $1 our elected representatives contribute, we cough up $23.

So if there are going to be pension reforms, let’s focus instead on Parliament’s outrageous scheme. And here’s a suggestion for how to proceed.

If parliamentarians want a pension after just six years of work, let’s use the same formula that applies in the real world.

By our math, they would receive around $6,480 - just what an OAS recipient gets. That sounds about right.

Victoria Times-Colonist, February 4, 2012


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