Future OAS problems must be addressed

Local MP Randy Kamp responds to readers' concerns over the OAS

Editor, The Record:

Re: Changes to pensions a long ways off: MP, Feb. 2 edition.

I know many seniors have been asking if their Old Age Security (OAS) cheque is going to stay the same. And others nearing retirement want to know if the OAS will be there for them when they reach age 65. The answer to both questions is yes.

Our government is committed to protecting retirement income for today’s seniors and future generations of retirees.

Canadians receive retirement income from several sources, including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and OAS. The CPP is funded by contributions by employees and employers and is safe and secure for the foreseeable future. OAS, on the other hand, is funded from general tax revenue and is not on a sustainable path.

In 1975 there were seven working taxpayers for every senior. Because our population is getting older, today there are only four working-age taxpayers for each senior, and by 2030, there will be just two working-age Canadians for each senior. Due to these changing demographics, the annual cost of the OAS program is projected to increase from $36 billion in 2010 to $108 billion in 2030.

To ignore these demographic realities is a dangerous course that our government will not take. Failure to make important decisions now about future changes could put the program in jeopardy for our children and grandchildren.

I can assure you that any changes to Old Age Security will not affect anyone currently receiving benefits, nor will they affect anyone now nearing retirement. Other Canadians, who are not near retirement, will receive substantial notice of changes to OAS to ensure they have enough time to plan for their future.

Our Conservative government will take responsible action — including changes to MPs’ pensions — to give confidence to future generations of seniors that publicly funded pensions will be there for them in their retirement.

Randy Kamp, MP

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission

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