A Christmas Wish for Seniors
CPP reform needed so Canadian seniors won’t have to live in poverty.
October 1 was the UN’s International Day of Older Persons. The UN produced the first-ever overview of the wellbeing of older people over age 60. So here goes with a bit of information about how older people in Canada are doing compared to some other countries.
All over the world people are living longer. In 2012 there were 809 million or 11% of the population and by 2050 there will be 2,031 million or 22% of the population. Canada’s seniors’ population is already 21% at 7.2 million and is expected to increase to 31% by 2050. Therefore, good pensions and services for seniors are critically important to the overall health of our seniors, our communities, and our economy.
The wellbeing index looked at four major categories: income security, health status, employment/education, and enabling environment. Income security is about sufficient income and also the capacity to use it independently. Health status relates to physical fragility or the onset of ill-health and disability and life expectancy at age 60. Employment and education refers to the coping capacity and capability attributes of older people (not experiencing discrimination). Finally, enabling environment means older people have the freedom of choice to live independent and self-reliant lives. This includes access to public transportation, physical safety, and good social connections.
The top 10 countries in order are: Sweden, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, Iceland, and Japan. At the very bottom at 91 is Afghanistan and just above are a host of African and Middle Eastern countries. Low or no access to pensions, poor health care, and little access to public services is what places countries in the bottom.
Life in Canada for seniors is generally good. We live longer and are healthier longer. While our actual poverty rate is lowest, many seniors live just above the poverty line thanks to provincial top-up financial assistance.
Life in Canada for seniors is generally good. We live longer and are healthier longer. While our actual poverty rate is lowest, many seniors live just above the poverty line thanks to provincial top-up financial assistance. However, Old Age Security, supplemental pensions for low income Canadians, and the Canada Pension Plan have not kept pace with the growing economy. The poverty rate for women is much higher at 20%.
Pension reform is urgently needed if these figures are to remain stable or improve. I was encouraged to read that CPP reform is once again being discussed with the Ontario Premier pushing Premier Redford and the Alberta government to stop vetoing proposed increases.
This is my Christmas wish: dear Santa, please bring us CPP reform so Canadian seniors won’t have to live in poverty in the future. More about CPP reform in the new year.