UN Day for Older Persons: Canada’s unions call for strong supports for seniors

October 1, 2021

Canada’s unions are marking the UN Day for Older Persons by highlighting the need for strong pension plans and social supports to help seniors retire in dignity at the end of their career.

Canada’s elderly population is growing: Statistics Canada reports that nearly one in every five Canadians is 65 years of age or older. Nearly one in five current retirees have less than $25,000 in savings and investments.

“Our population is aging, but we don’t currently have adequate supports to help keep seniors out of poverty in retirement,” said Bea Bruske, President of the CLC. “With the economic upheaval brought on by COVID, more than one in ten Canadians now say they do not expect to ever retire. And as the number of private-sector workers covered by a decent workplace pension steadily declines, strong public pension benefits are crucial to helping people retire with dignity.”

Over 2 million seniors with low and modest incomes rely on the Guaranteed Income Supplement each month. The current bout of relatively high inflation is especially difficult for pensioners on fixed incomes.

Thankfully, Canada’s public pension benefits – Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans – remain fully indexed against inflation. This inflation protection is yet another reason to expand Canada’s universal public pensions.

“Canada’s unions have been calling for the federal government to expand our social safety net as part of their pandemic recovery plans. Seniors were especially vulnerable to the health impacts of COVID-19, and now many are struggling to manage the financial impacts as well. We owe it to the seniors who helped build this country to ensure that they aren’t left behind in Canada’s recovery plans,” said Bruske.

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