Last night, the federal government announced it was raising the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) to 67 from 65. But Canada’s not the first country—and won’t be the last—to do so.

Upping the retirement age is a trend that’s spreading around the globe as governments attempt to grapple with an aging population, increased longevity and economic uncertainty. And, in some cases, the efforts haven’t been pretty.

Thousands demonstrated outside of Poland’s parliament today to protest the Polish government’s plans to raise the retirement age to 67. Germany currently has a retirement age of 67, and Sweden has expressed plans to raise the age to 69—although both countries have seen little fight. Against much public criticism, France raised its retirement age to 62 from 60 in 2010 in response to rising costs. (However, it looks as if France’s presidential candidate François Hollande may send it back to 60 if elected.)

Here in Canada, the changes to OAS eligibility will come in gradually between 2023 and 2029. Canadians born on March 31, 1958, or earlier will not be affected. Those born on or after Feb. 1, 1962, will have an eligibility age of 67, while those born between April 1, 1958, and Jan. 31, 1962, will be part of the phase-in period and will have an eligibility age between 65 and 67.

Whether or not Canada needs to raise the retirement age has been up for debate for several weeks now—ever since Stephen Harper first floated the idea at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

His targeting of OAS was greeted with both praise and push-back from experts who argued on both sides, some saying that retirement benefits are sustainable in their current form and others saying that Canadians need to work longer in order to reduce pension funding pressures.

“The trend toward later retirement will significantly reduce, although not entirely offset, the much-discussed negative macroeconomic and labour market effects of population aging,” said Peter Hicks, a former federal assistant deputy minister and author of the C.D. Howe report Later Retirement: The Win-Win Solution.

But a February report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page stated that Canada’s OAS benefits aren’t only sustainable there’s also fiscal room to increase them.

Critics have also said that changes to OAS will have the most dangerous impact on low-income Canadians—a demographic that has significantly shorter lifespans than higher-income Canadians and therefore carries disproportionately more of the loss in benefits, says Tyler Meredith, research director at the Institute for Research in Public Policy.

Others, such as seniors’ advocate Susan Eng of CARP, say that by delaying the changes a decade, the government is provoking intergenerational conflict, pitting the young against the older generation.

“They’re saying, ‘Let’s do it for the children.’ But it’s the children who get hurt,” Eng said.

But with so many other industrialized countries raising their age of entitlement, the federal government says Canada needs to as well—especially since people are living longer and healthier lives.

“I don’t think it’s a really unreasonable request. I mean, governments around the world are doing this,” said Craig Alexander, chief economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank. “As an economist, I have no problem with that. We actually want people to stay in the labour market longer.”

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Rodrigo:

CARP has lost all credibility by cnlatsotny asking for more without giving any thought to where the money comes from. “Reform” in CARP’s dictionary likely reads “voting for yourself unearned entitlements”.

Wednesday, July 18 at 7:19 am | Reply

Fatty:

Retirement age(for collecting OAS) sohuld remain as it is. This country has cut back many services over the years therefore volunteers are required within many organizations. If people are required to work until they drop then service organizations will suffer accordingly. People won’t be volunteering when they have minimal healthy retirement years left. There are many avenues to cutting cost, among them definitely is MP’s pensions. In addition, I think that immigrants to this country sohuld be citizens for twenty years before qualifying. Seniors who have worked a lifetime to earn retirement sohuld be left alone.

Monday, September 24 at 7:48 pm

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