Seniors are dedicated voters and political parties are courting their support with promises to enhance pensions.

ELECTION 2015: Battle over pensions, pay stubs

Expanding Canada Pension Plan or more voluntary savings in tax-free savings accounts are among choices for voters

Pensions and payroll deductions to finance them are a key battleground for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau sparked debate by endorsing the Ontario government’s plan to launch a provincial version of the Canada Pension Plan, with mandatory payroll deductions to finance it.

The Liberal Party platform says only that a Trudeau government “will work with the provinces and territories, workers, employers and retiree organizations to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.”

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has made a similar pledge to expand the CPP, noting that Ontario and Prince Edward Island have already put forward pension proposals. He plans to convene a meeting with provinces within six months of forming a government. (NDP platform here.)

Conservative leader Stephen Harper has rejected mandatory expansion, but has said he would consider a system of voluntary additional contributions to CPP. The Conservatives have promoted an increase in tax-free savings account limits to $10,000 per year and income splitting for married seniors. (Conservative platform here.)

Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver said for an employee earning $60,000 a year, the Ontario pension would reduce take-home pay by $1,000 a year, and similar payments by employers would lead to reduced employment.

The Green Party platform also promises to expand the CPP, but provides no details.

Trudeau and Mulcair have both denied Harper’s allegation that they plan to eliminate pension income splitting. Both have also vowed to cancel the Conservative plan to raise the eligibility age for Old Age Security payments from 65 to 67, which would not take full effect until 2029.

OAS is not a pension plan, but a taxpayer-funded program that pays $565 per month for all seniors, in addition to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) that provides up to $766 per month to qualifying low-income seniors. OAS is progressively taxed back for seniors whose combined income from other source exceeds $72,809.

In an interview last week, Harper said his government has provided the biggest increase in the GIS in 25 years, and defended the move to phase in a higher eligibility age for OAS, starting in 2023.

“We’re doing, frankly, what most other Western democratic countries do, make adjustments based on demographics,” Harper said.

 

Just Posted

IN PHOTOS: Remembrance Day ceremonies in Chilliwack

Videos and images from both the downtown Chilliwack and Vedder cenotaphs on Remembrance Day

Vancouver tribute band honours Tom Petty in Chilliwack Cultural Centre show

Perfectly Petty, led by Canadian tribute artist Dave Danylchuk, is at the Cultural Centre Nov. 22

Chilliwack Cultural Centre show combines Star Wars with burlesque

‘Star Wars Burlesque: A Nude Hope’ shows that the fight for the galaxy has never been this fun

Chilliwack Chiefs snap losing skid with win over Prince George

The Chiefs beat the Spruce Kings 4-1 in a Saturday night BCHL battle at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

Big band music blends with Disney in Chilliwack Cultural Centre show

The Happiest Big Band on Earth is a show by a 17-piece big band from Vancouver

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read