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Policy Briefing: Canada’s Aging Society

Opposition calls on feds to take a harder line on elder abuse

MPs want improved services for seniors, while retiree association wants elder abuse treated as hate crime.
Federal policies aimed at tackling fiscal challenges of aging population encourage late life labour.

The aging population means an increasing number of seniors will be at risk for experiencing mental health problems. If left unaddressed, the aging of the population will have far-reaching social, economic and political impacts, says Mental Health Commission of Canada report.
Although researchers have been warning of the aging of Canada’s population for decades, governments do not yet have an overarching policy strategy to deal with the profound, long-term socio-economic implications of this demographic shift, let alone its more immediate impact on seniors’ care.
In truth, the issue of fiscal sustainability for OAS should not have emerged at all. OAS expenditures are one of the easiest of major government expenditures to project, and they are regularly tabled in Parliament.
Canada is not unique in experiencing a sustainability issue with regards to funding health care, but that is not an excuse to ignore the problem. One way or another, Canadians are going to have to find a way to pay for new treatments.
Old Age Security reform is worth discussion, but we’d better base it in evidence first.
RRSPs are terribly tax inefficient in that for the $8.5-billion to $12.1-billion in annual net tax expenditures, the median value of RRSP assets by Canadians under age 65 is a woeful $40,000 and those over 65 have less than $55,000—insufficient to supplement one’s pension, especially at today’s annuity rates.
The SCPP is at its heart, an affordable, safe, and reliable defined benefit pension plan for every person who wants it. Most importantly, the SCPP places citizens and governments in a partnership aimed at enhancing and protecting pension security, adequacy and coverage.
New Democrats are dedicated to developing a concrete plan to ensure that no senior is left behind as our country’s demographics shift.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ushered in a seniors Cabinet post and council, but government closes ranks on OAS.
The feds declare OAS to be unsustainable, but economists say it’s a question of priorities.

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