ePassport and OAS Changes

As I travel around the riding of SDSG I meet many seniors who are energetic, vibrant and still working full time. Many Canadian seniors are benefiting from worldwide advances in health, fitness and science, and as a result they are living longer, healthier lives. One senior observed eighty years old is the new sixty years old. How true. This reality presents all kinds of choices and adjustments, from personal decisions about careers and retirement, to the need for governments to develop and amend policies and programs to deal with these issues.

People today are taking many different paths to retirement, and some seniors are choosing to work longer. To improve flexibility and choice in retirement planning, our Government announced the new voluntary deferral option for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

As of July 1, 2013, Canadian seniors have the option to voluntarily defer their OAS pension for up to five years in exchange for a higher monthly amount. For every month you delay receipt of your OAS pension, you will receive an increased monthly benefit of 0.6 percent per month, up to a maximum of 36 percent at age 70. You can now defer your OAS pension for as little as one month, or as much as 60 months.

People should of course consider their personal situations when deciding when to start receiving their OAS pension, including their financial status, life expectancy, and their wants and needs. It is important to note that if you delay your OAS pension, you will not be eligible to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and your spouse or common-law partner will not be eligible to receive the allowance until your OAS pension begins. Having discussed this issue with a number of constituents over the past few years, I am sure this is welcome news to many of you.

July 1 also brought changes to Canadian passports that I think you should know about. You can now apply for either a 5 year or a 10 year passport if you are 16 years old or older. However children passports are still only issued for 5 years. The new ePassports contain a microchip greatly enhancing their security and making them difficult to forge.

The ePassport is now being used by most countries around the world. It provides for safe and secure travel for Canadians anywhere in the world. The new 10 year ePassport actually saves you money. At $160.00 for 10 years it is less costly per year than the old 5 year passport. The cost of a five year ePassport is $120.00 and a child's (under 16) is $57.00.

I hope the changes we have made will achieve their goals of providing the citizens of SDSG and Canada a more secure, fulfilling, happy life. As always, for more information, please contact my constituency office at 613-937-3331.

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