An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (amount of full pension)

Sponsor

Andréanne Larouche  Bloc

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Report stage (House), as of March 19, 2024

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-319.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Old Age Security Act to increase the amount of the full pension to which all pensioners aged 65 or older are entitled by 10% and to raise the exemption for a person’s employment income or self-employed earnings that is taken into account in determining the amount of the guaranteed income supplement from $5,000 to $6,500.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 18, 2023 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-319, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (amount of full pension)

March 21st, 2024 / 1 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you very much, Minister.

On another front, the Bloc Québécois has made a further request, which is to avoid creating two classes of seniors. There was an increase in the Old Age Security pension for people aged 75 or over. We would like everyone 65 and over to also receive it. My colleague Ms. Andréanne Larouche introduced Bill C-319 for that purpose. It went through second reading and was adopted unanimously by a committee. All elected representatives on that committee, from every party, voted in favour of it.

Is the government currently considering Bill C-319 to increase the Old Age Security pension for those 65 and over?

Is the government likely to agree on what appears to be the unanimous view of legislators? Does it think it will be able to support the bill?

Opposition Motion—Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

March 19th, 2024 / 4:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to circle back to an issue that my colleague touched on in his speech, which is the vulnerable situation seniors are in. I would like to come back to it because, this morning, in the House, I had the honour of tabling the report from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. At that committee, my colleague's party and all the parties in the room unanimously recognized that we need to increase old age security for seniors. This could actually put money back into seniors' wallets and pockets.

Does he support his colleagues on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities who voted for Bill C-319?

Will he continue to pressure the Liberals, not just on the carbon tax, but to think about other solutions to help people in vulnerable situations, including seniors, by increasing old age security for all seniors and address this inequity between seniors aged 65 to 74 and those aged 75 and over?

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2024 / 10 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, concerning Bill C-319, an act to amend the Old Age Security Act regarding amount of full pension, which I and all the members of my political party, the Bloc Québécois, are advocating for.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report it back to the House without amendment.

I sincerely thank the committee for its work and for allowing me to present the report this morning.

SeniorsOral Questions

February 27th, 2024 / 2:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, members from all parties—Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Bloc—unanimously voted to do away with two classes of seniors when it comes to receiving old age security.

Members will recall that the government had decided to limit benefit increases to those aged 75 and over only. In committee, MPs from all parties voted to do away with this terrible idea. Now, the government just needs to give royal recommendation so that we can do away with these two classes of seniors.

Will the government give royal recommendation to Bill C‑319?

February 26th, 2024 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Ms. Chabot.

I see no further.... The amendment has been moved. I gave latitude in some discussion. As chair, I must rule on admissibility, as dictated by House of Commons Procedure and Practice.

Bill C-319 seeks to amend the the Old Age Security Act by raising the exemption for a person's employment income or self-employed earnings that are taken into account in determining the amount of the guaranteed income supplement from $5,000 to $6,500. The amendment, as proposed by Ms. Zarrillo, attempts to increase further that amount to $13,000, which in turn would provide to some people access to a greater benefit than they would without the increased deduction, creating a new and distinct spending to be drawn from the treasury.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice Third Edition states the following on page 772:

Since an amendment may not infringe upon the financial initiative of the Crown, it is inadmissible if it imposes a charge on the public treasury, or if it extends the objects or purposes or relaxes the conditions and qualifications specified in the royal recommendation.

As precedent dictates to me as chair, in light of the advice I received, in my opinion and for the above mentioned reason, the amendment proposes to increase spending related to the old age security benefits, which imposes a charge on the public treasury to a level superior to the one already provided in the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.

Seeing no further discussion, shall clause 1 carry?

(Clause 1 agreed to)

Shall clause 2 carry?

Mrs. Gray.

February 26th, 2024 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Chair, I would still like to make a few comments. So I'm going to talk while hearing myself talking.

It's not that I'm against people having as decent an income as possible, but I just want to remind you of the objective of Bill C‑319. The bill has two parts. The first is about increasing the old age security pension by 10% starting at age 65. We know that this increase was granted to people aged 75 and over. So that's the first objective. The other objective is to increase the amount of income that those who receive the guaranteed income supplement can earn from work without seeing that supplement reduced. That amount had previously gone from $3,500 to $5,000. We are asking in the bill that it be increased from $5,000 to $6,500.

I would remind you that the purpose of this bill is not to require people who receive an old age security pension to work. However, we need to enable those who wish to do so not to be penalized. Sometimes perfection is the enemy of the good.

You will recall that, during the testimony, Ms. Zarrillo asked witnesses if they had any amendments to propose to the bill. However, these witnesses were clear: They want the committee to support Bill C‑319 so that it can go through the steps in the House.

So I am going to vote against Ms. Zarrillo's amendment.

February 26th, 2024 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have an amendment to clause 1. The NDP believes that the limit on the income allowed before clawback should be raised in this bill. I will read my amendment.

It is that Bill C-319, in clause 1, be amended by replacing lines 17 to 21 on page 1 with the following:

(i) the lesser of $13,000 and the combined amount, and

(ii) if the combine amount is greater than $13,000, the lesser of $13,000 and half of the amount by which the combined amount exceeds $13,000,

I can give some explanation or an example of that if needed, Mr. Chair.

February 26th, 2024 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Are you politely telling me that you do not want to hear me twice? I get it.

I'm being told it's fine and that it's meeting the quality standards. If it does become an issue, get my attention.

Are we ready to begin clause-by-clause of Bill C-319?

(On clause 1)

Go ahead, Ms. Zarrillo.

February 26th, 2024 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair (Mr. Robert Morrissey (Egmont, Lib.)) Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Committee members, I call the meeting to order. Welcome to meeting 102 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the committee will begin the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-319, an act to amend the Old Age Security Act.

Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the Standing Orders. Members are attending in person and virtually by Zoom. You can choose to participate in the official language of your choice by using the translation services, with your headset in the room and, if you're appearing virtually, click on the world icon at the bottom of your Surface and choose the official language of your choice. I advise members to please be conscious of our translators and keep your earpiece away from the mic, as it causes popping, which can be harmful to the translators.

As a reminder as well, all comments should be directed through me, as chair. For those in the room, please raise your hand to be recognized. For those appearing virtually, use the “raise hand” icon and I will recognize you.

Finally, I would like to introduce Mr. Kevin Wagdin, director, old age security policy and legislation, from the Department of Employment and Social Development. Mr. Wagdin is present to answer questions you may have, as required. As well we have legislative counsel with us for any questions on the bill.

Madame Chabot, is Madame Larouche joining us?

February 15th, 2024 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

That's great. I'm glad. Does that mean it's approved? The money is spent. We go through this all the time.

Also, for the current study we're doing on Bill C-319, the cost is $17,250.

Do I have a motion for the adoption of those two budgets?

That has been moved by Mr. Collins.

Do I see agreement? If there's no agreement, you'll have to pay for your lunch.

February 15th, 2024 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bobby Morrissey

Thank you, Ms. Chabot.

Madame Larouche will be back for clause-by-clause, and I'm sure the conversation will continue.

We'll be back on Monday, February 26, for clause-by-clause on Bill C-319. Again I would remind everyone that the deadline to submit amendments is Thursday, February 22 at noon. That was the time adopted by this committee.

As well, we have two budgets we have to deal with. You have them. They were circulated.

For the Air Canada meeting, the budget is $2,250.

February 15th, 2024 / 10:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Fragiskatos, thank you for this opportunity and I invite you to offer us your support when we adopt Bill C-319 during clause-by-clause consideration.

Like my colleague Ms. Larouche, I'm not supporting this cause just because I belong to the Bloc Québécois. Other colleagues around the table have noted the importance of fairness in various aspects of society, as Ms. Falk did when she introduced her Bill C-318 to provide leave for adoptive parents in the same way as biological parents.

We're in the same situation here. This is a fairness issue. Canada made the choice to establish an old age security pension plan. It decided that Canadians could receive benefits under the plan starting at age 65. Bravo! Many people in our society live solely on the assistance of public plans. We have heard extensive testimony on the subject.

Ms. Larouche, fairness is one of the values you advocate in Bill C-319, which is also based on the recognition of seniors' dignity, and I'd like to hear you discuss that aspect.

February 15th, 2024 / 10 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

It's an investment because there's a cost to impoverishment. There are consequences to being forced to make hard choices at the end of the month in order to feed yourself adequately or when you have no more money to participate in activities. I always say that poverty can also have consequences.

I'd like to go back to the discussion of seniors 65 and over. As we said, that's the age of retirement that we established, and this debate concerns old age security. I invite you to stay focused on this aspect and not to wander onto measures that should be taken to address poor people under 65. It's one debate among others for which there are other benefits and solutions that we could consider.

Today's debate focuses on seniors who have worked, who have reached retirement age and who feel they're unfairly being forced to stay in the labour market. That's somewhat the message they're being sent. As I said earlier, some of them want to continue working, and that's why one aspect of the bill concerns them. However, some seniors don't want to work and are now completely forgotten by the government.

February 15th, 2024 / 10 a.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Larouche, do you feel that the government listens to what people 65 and over need and what they're experiencing?

You said that what we would like is for the committee to rally around the bill so that's reported back to the House of Commons. However, I don't think the debate we're having here is homogeneous or that the groups are homogeneous either.

We've acknowledged that the old age security pension applied to all Canadians starting at age 65. What arguments could we advance to say that money should be spent on this item but that it should be viewed as an investment in our seniors?

February 15th, 2024 / 9:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Since the bill would have a financial impact, the government's agreement would be needed to implement it.

Consequently, my answer to you is that it's a matter of political choices, as is true for many bills. It lets them polish their image, but they unfortunately don't follow up their words with actions. They just present a nice façade. It's what I call image-based politics, and I'd like to see a switch to action-based politics.

These aren't exorbitant amounts, as I said in my opening remarks, $16 billion over 5 years is nothing when it comes to helping the seniors who have been forgotten for so long, who are suffering from inflation and need help. It's a matter of political choices. First, you have to choose where to get the money, then where you're going to invest it.

We may well wonder, for the moment, whether the Liberals' investments are really being made in the right places and whether they shouldn't instead be made to implement bills that genuinely help people. I'm thinking of Bill C-319, for example, or the bill to increase the number of weeks of employment insurance sickness benefits. These are bills that would really change people's lives. We need to make the political choices to invest in the right things.