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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I call the meeting officially to order.
Welcome to meeting number 53 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
Pursuant to the House order of reference of Thursday, May 27, 2021, the committee is meeting to study Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021, and other measures.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of January 25 of this year. Therefore, members are either attending in person in the room, or remotely using the Zoom application.
I sometimes hear those words in my sleep these days. We have repeated them so many times.
I hate to start without Mr. Julian, without one party here, but we will see where we are at first.
(On clauses 269 to 271)
The Chair: We had started a discussion—and you can correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Clerk—on division 32, an increase to the old age security pension and payment. It was on page 286 of the bill. I believe the lead for the department was Kristen Underwood. There she is.
Welcome, Ms. Underwood.
The floor is open for further discussion on division 32.
Mrs. Jansen.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
CPC (BC)
I was just wondering about the fact that what we're basically saying here is that 75-year-olds and older will be getting a 10% pay raise.
Canadians put money into this pension plan, this is their money and their employers do the same. In this proposal, however, we are suddenly going to give a raise only to those 75 and older.
How can we legally change a program that is paid for by employers and employees? Suddenly the government is going to change the rules mid-game. How does that work? How is that possible?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Ms. Underwood, do you want to answer that?
We're not dealing with CPP. We're dealing with the OAS.
Kristen Underwood
View Kristen Underwood Profile
Kristen Underwood
2021-06-03 15:36
Yes, I was going to say for clarification, Mr. Chair, that we're talking about an increase to the old age security pension. The OAS is funded through the consolidated revenue fund and not by contributions from employees and employers.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
CPC (BC)
I'm sorry, my apologies. I'm totally mixed up.
Can you explain to me how it is possible that we can decide to split seniors that way? How does it make sense that you can say that those 75 and older need it more than those 65 and older, and we're, therefore, going to split them in half, whereas OAS starts at 65? Presumably, they are all on OAS for the same reason.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I don't want to put senior people in the bureaucracy on the spot. That's more of a policy question, Tamara. Can you find a way to ask it? It's the government that decides on the policy, so I think that's probably an unfair question for the bureaucracy to answer. They do the data, the details.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
CPC (BC)
Okay.
Why is the government proposing measures that would apply to all pensioners age 75 and older, rather than measures that would specifically target low-income seniors?
Kristen Underwood
View Kristen Underwood Profile
Kristen Underwood
2021-06-03 15:37
The measure is meant to target older seniors. It's a universal benefit for those 75 and older. We did some data analysis, and it does show that there are higher levels of vulnerability for those who are 75 and older.
We've talked about some of those statistics here before. I could talk about them again, but the issue we're trying to address here is the increased vulnerability of older seniors.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Mr. Julian is next, followed by Ms. Dzerowicz.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Chair, thanks to my colleagues Mr. Kelly and Monsieur Ste-Marie.
I just came out of the House, where we were paying tributes to Bruce Stanton for his extraordinary career and his 10 years as the Deputy Speaker. I want to clarify exactly how you were proceeding with this particular section.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We've just started because we didn't want to start without everyone present, as much as possible.
We're on division 32, which has clause 269. We will get to you—you have an amendment on clause 272—and others as we go through it.
I don't think there's really any choice on division 32 but to go through it clause by clause. There are so many amendments that we pretty well need to go through it clause by clause, unless you want to block some of yours in the middle.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I would definitely be blocking the amendments to clauses 272 to 276. I'll flag that with you for our amendments that are coming up. Thanks for clarifying.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay.
Then we will go back to questions for Ms. Underwood.
Ms. Dzerowicz.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, colleagues.
I want to thank all the officials for being here today and for all their hard work.
I know you've given us some of the statistics, Ms. Underwood, but I do think it's important to have a little bit more on record in terms of the difference in challenges faced by seniors between the ages of 65 and 74, and the challenges or the data that we have for those who are 75 and over.
I know you talked about those who are 75 and over. We know they have some more needs and challenges, but could you provide some of the data you have on those between the ages of 65 and 74, and maybe a little bit more on the 75-plus?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Go ahead, Ms. Underwood.
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