OAS reform at least a decade away: minister

OTTAWA — Canada’s relatively sound fiscal shape means it will not have to ratchet up the retirement age within the space of 10 years, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said Thursday.

OTTAWA — Canada’s relatively sound fiscal shape means it will not have to ratchet up the retirement age within the space of 10 years, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said Thursday.

Finley began putting some meat on the bare bones of its decision to reform old-age security during an interview with The Canadian Press.

The minister said only countries in dire fiscal straits need to adjust their seniors’ benefits within the span of a decade.

Canada won’t be in that position as long as it starts implementing changes immediately, she said — appearing to signal that reforms to Canada’s retirement benefits would be phased in very slowly, over much longer than 10 years.

She also committed to making sure low-income seniors who are adversely affected by the reform are taken care of.

“Any changes that are brought in will allow lots and lots of time for people to change their retirement plans going forward,” Finley said.

“If they’re not already near retirement, there will be a lot of time for them to adjust their retirement planning.”

She said Canada is lagging behind other countries that long ago began preparing their seniors’ benefits to deal with an aging society. But since Canada’s fiscal situation is strong, the federal government still has the benefit of time.

“Other countries have done this. In fact we’re behind on this,” she said. “The implementation period has ranged from 10 years to 40. Ten-year implementations are for those countries that are in desperate straits. Fortunately we’re not in that position.”

But at the same time, Canada can’t afford to wait any longer to begin implementing the changes, she said.whether that be at Veterans Affairs or any other part of government,” she said.

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