No Old Age Security changes before 2020 - finance ministerSaturday, February 11, 2012 by: Rick McGee
Mixed messages from the Harper government are further confusing discussions about potential Old Age Security (OAS) changes.
The government has raised the possibility of increasing the qualifying age to 67 from 65.
Remarks Friday by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seem to undermine any notion of an OAS “crisis” – a reference used by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley – requiring urgent attention.
As reported late yesterday by The Canadian Press in SooToday.com’s National News section, “Flaherty told reporters the changes were not for tomorrow, but for something like 2020 or 2025.”
Other major news outlets have run the same account.
The CP story also notes that, “A [government] spokesman said later the comment should be read as an indication changes wouldn't occur immediately and not as firm timelines.”
A few hours before Flaherty’s remarks were reported, SooToday.com had asked Sault MP Bryan Hayes (shown) when - in terms of weeks, months or years - adjustments would happen.
The questions followed his statements that any changes would allow people "lots of notice and time to adjust" and wouldn’t affect anyone "close to retirement.”
In his response to us, Hayes didn’t provide any significant new details on timing.
Instead, he referenced meetings later this month with local stakeholders and the need for consultation in the Sault and elsewhere.
Earlier this week, Canada’s parliamentary budget officer issued a report that contradicts the Harper government’s assertions about OAS’s long-term viability.
Additional coverage will follow.
Earlier SooToday.com coverage of this story
The latest from Bryan Hayes on Old Age Security
More Old Age Security (OAS) grief for Harper government
Bryan Hayes: Old Age Security not sustainable. NDP not fit to govern
Harper government's 'war on pensions' criticized by area MP