Raising retirement benefits for military, RCMP families would cost $6B: PBO

An NDP private member’s bill that proposes raising the retirement benefit payments made to the families of deceased Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police veterans would cost Ottawa more than $6 billion, according to an analysis by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The changes proposed by Bill C-261 would result in an increased pension liability of $5.046 billion for the regular CF pension plan, $7 million for the reserves CF pension plan and $1.32 billion for the RCMP pension plan, according to the analysis. It also found that annual servicing costs would increase by $112.55 million for the CF plan, $910,000 for the reserves CF plan and $39 million for the RCMP plan.

The budget office says that Treasury Board policy indicates the entire liability would hit Ottawa’s books, net of any surplus in the account, all in the year the change is approved.

Read: Government proposes retirement help for disabled veterans

The private member’s bill was introduced in April by New Democrat MP Irene Mathyssen. It has passed the first-reading stage, but opposition proposals typically have little chance of being adopted.

“It is important that supports remain in place for the spouse and family after the veteran passes away,” Mathyssen said in the House of Commons in April.

“Many veterans’ spouses are forced to give up their own careers to support the veteran during the veteran’s service when they are moved from city to city, making it difficult for the spouse to establish a career. Or a spouse may give up work to care for an injured veteran.”

Read: Wounded veterans get additional benefits