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Federal budget 2012 – don’t forget the Old Age Security changes!

Effective, April 1, 2023, with full implementation by January 2029, the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) is increasing to age 67 from 65 to reflect the reality that Canadians are living longer and healthier lives, and intending to keep working and delay retirement. In line with the increase in age of OAS/GIS eligibility, the ages at which the allowance and the allowance for the survivor are provided will also gradually increase from 60–64 today to 62–66, starting in April 2023.

This long transition and implementation period is to ensure that individuals have significant advance notification to plan their retirement and make adjustments. The change will not affect those 54 years of age and older, as of March 31, 2012. Those born on or after February 1, 1962, will have an eligibility age of 67. Those born between April 1, 1958, and Jan. 31, 1962, will be part of the phase-in period and will have an eligibility age between 65 and 67. Budget information on Old Age Security can be found at www.budget.gc.ca/2012/themes/theme3-eng.html.

Effective July 1, 2013, Canadians who prefer to keep working will be given the option to defer the start of OAS pension for up to five years. This voluntary option will enable them to receive higher annual OAS benefits. For example, someone turning 65 in 2013 can defer receiving OAS until he or she reaches the age of 70, resulting in an annual payment of $8,814 instead of $6,481. This measure is similar to the postponement under CPP that came into force in 2012.

In addition, the government will improve services for seniors by putting in place a proactive enrolment regime that will eliminate the need for many seniors to apply for the OAS pension and the GIS. This measure will reduce the burden on seniors of completing application processes and will reduce the government’s administrative costs. Proactive enrolment will be phased in from 2013 to 2016.

The government will ensure that certain federal programs, including programs provided by Veterans Affairs Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, currently providing income support benefits until age 65, are aligned with changes to the OAS program. This will ensure that individuals receiving benefits from these programs do not face a gap in income at ages 65 and 66.

The government intends to discuss these changes to the OAS program with provinces and territories in the coming months.

For more details on the budget, see Christina Catenacci’s earlier post and my article on HRinfodesk.com.

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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