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The Age of Eligibility for Public Retirement Programs in the OECD


  • All industrialized countries, particularly those in the OECD and including Canada, are experiencing an aging of their populations.
  • Of the 22 high-income OECD countries apart from Canada, 18 of them (over 80 percent) (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are enacting increases in the age of eligibility for public retirement programs.
  • Thirteen countries, or almost 60 percent (Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are increasing their age of eligibility for public retirement programs to 67 years old or older; 2 of these (Ireland and the United Kingdom) are moving to 68 years, and Iceland is moving to 70 years.
  • Five countries are indexing their age of eligibility with life expectancy, meaning that the age of eligibility will be automatically adjusted as life expectancy changes.
  • Four countries in addition to Canada are retaining the status quo with no reforms: Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  • In 2015, Canada’s federal government reversed a 2012 reform that would have increased the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 67 by 2029. The federal government estimates that this policy reversal will cost $10.4 billion in 2030.

Calls for More Policy Reversals

Reversing course and raising the age of eligibility for retirement benefits to 67 from 65 would be politically costly, but it makes eminent sense when one considers the aging of our population.

What can Canada learn from pension reform Down Under?

As Canada's finance ministers meet to discuss the Canada Pension Plan, the debate has thus far been insulated from international pension models and limited to whether or not we should expand the CPP.

Reforming Old Age Security: A Good Start but Incomplete

In 2012, the federal government shocked many Canadians by announcing an important change in the cherished Old Age Security (OAS) program, one of three key income programs for seniors. The reform, which was implemented in the 2013 budget, increases the age of eligibility for OAS to 67 from 65 beginning in 2023 with full implementation achieved in 2029. While the reform is a positive first step given the aging of Canadians, more is needed.

The big pay advantage in big government

When Alberta Premier Alison Redford took to the television screen the other night, she paid much attention to the revenue side of the government’s books. On Alberta’s massive budget deficit, the premier blamed the below-world price that Alberta-based companies receive for oil.

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