Feds flatly re­ject rec­om­men­da­tion to raise re­tire­ment el­i­gi­bil­ity age

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA/BUSINESS -

A day af­ter the fed­eral Lib­er­als’ eco­nomic ad­vi­sory coun­cil rec­om­mended rais­ing the age of re­tire­ment el­i­gi­bil­ity, the gov­ern­ment is turn­ing the idea down flat.

The coun­cil ad­vised the gov­ern­ment on Mon­day to raise the age at which work­ers can col­lect old age se­cu­rity and Canada Pen­sion Plan ben­e­fits in or­der to keep peo­ple in the work force longer.

But So­cial Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Du­c­los says the gov­ern­ment will stick to its elec­tion prom­ise to set the age at 65 — a re­ver­sal of the pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment’s plan to raise the age to 67.

Du­c­los says mov­ing back to age 67 would throw vul­ner­a­ble se­niors into poverty.

But he also says the gov­ern­ment is look­ing at other in­cen­tives to keep work­ers in the work force longer, if they’re able and will­ing. The growth coun­cil ar­gued that rais­ing the el­i­gi­bil­ity age would boost labour par­tic­i­pa­tion and add $56 bil­lion to the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

“We are not go­ing to change that be­cause we be­lieve it’s im­por­tant to pro­tect our vul­ner­a­ble se­niors, those who find it im­pos­si­ble, for all sorts of rea­sons, to con­tinue their labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion,’’ Du­c­los said af­ter a cab­i­net meet­ing Tues­day morn­ing.

“And se­cond, we’re go­ing to look very hard into ways to im­prove the in­cen­tives that other work­ers who are able and will­ing to con­tinue their labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion can re­ceive and ben­e­fit from in or­der to con­tinue grow­ing our econ­omy.’’

Rec­om­men­da­tions from the growth coun­cil have had a lot of sway with pol­icy mak­ers in the past, and are ex­pected to heav­ily in­flu­ence the up­com­ing bud­get.

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