Aged debate

Fifty years ago, it was announced that the eligible age for collecting Old Age Security (OAS) would be lowered to 65. We’ve debated what’s age appropriate for nine decades.

5: Years over which eligibility for OAS is reduced from 70 to 65 years, beginning in 1966. Lester B. Pearson’s Liberal government announced the change the previous year.

8: Increase in years of life expectancy for Canadian men from 1966 to 2010; women’s went up 10 years in the same period. Examining the sustainability of Canada’s social safety net in light of the data, Toronto’s Mowat Centre asks, “Is 70 the new 65?”.

20: Cost in billions of dollars for the OAS program in 1995. That year the feds float a trial balloon for increasing the age of eligibility to 67 years, but back away for fear of a backlash from seniors.

70: Age at which British subjects living in Canada for at least two decades (and in their current province of residence for five years) could collect from Canada’s first old age security program, beginning in 1927. Benefits max out at $20 per month.

480: Initial annual benefit in dollars of Canada’s universal Old Age Security Act of 1951. All citizens aged 70 and older can collect.

1906: Year old age pensions are first discussed, but not legislated, in the Canadian Parliament. Germany enacted the first government pension plan in 1889.

2023: Year that eligibility for collecting OAS will begin to rise to 67 from 65 years of age. Enacted in 2012, the move will save an estimated $10 billion annually.

About the Author

Steve Brearton


Steve Brearton is a freelance writer in Toronto.

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