In late March, I spent a few days with some other retirees at a political action conference in Toronto. We were among close to 1,500 labour activists and leaders from across Canada who spent the weekend talking about the attacks on working families in Canada and what we can do about them. Why, you ask, would retirees be interested in this? Well, when we were young our parents did not have many of the rights and benefits Canadian workers enjoy today. And during our working lives, we fought hard and long with our unions for the wages and benefits workers enjoy today, a fair share of the richness of Canada. Wages and benefits that allowed us to buy a house, take an occasional vacation, put our kids through college and university, and set aside something for retirement.
The reaction of the National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation (NPSCF) to this year's federal budget is disappointment. Every year prior to the budget our executive board presents a brief in Ottawa to the government. The brief is developed from membership resolutions to our annual national convention. Seniors and retirees in clubs and provincial organizations develop these throughout the year for the convention. In our brief, we also reference global and national studies done by the United Nations, the Senate of Canada, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, chartered banks and numerous non-governmental organizations. After all this effort by thousands of Canadians, the evidence is clear.
Canadian pensions and pension systems get widely varying report cards. For example, in the report OECD Pensions at a Glance, the authors rate Canadian pension systems (including OAS, OAP, and CPP) highly by some criteria, but poorly by others. Canadian systems work well for the disadvantaged, guaranteeing nearly 80 per cent or more of pre-retirement income for those earning half or less of the national average income. By this measure, Canada is in the top eight of the 34 OECD countries. But for Canadians making the national average wage or above, the pension replacement rate in Canada (comparing guaranteed pension income to pre-retirement income) is only about 40 per cent, compared to the OECD average of 59 per cent.
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By current standards of drug coverage, George Rozon considers himself lucky. As a long-term diabetic (Type 1), who has had heart surgery and also a kidney transplant, drugs mean life to George. After 30 years working at a cardboard box plant in Alberta, he retired early for health reasons and now, aged 59, lives in rural Nova Scotia.
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In New Brunswick, the proportion of seniors increased by 15 per cent over the last five years, while the number of children decreased by four per cent. Fifteen years from now, over 25 per cent of the population of New Brunswick will be 65 years of age or older. It's a similar story across the country. With an aging population, it is more important than ever to have public services that will allow seniors to maintain their independence as long as possible.
La violence contre les femmes est une priorité pour les groupes de femmes et les retraités du Congrès de l'Union du Canada. Partout au Canada et à l'étranger les femmes se mobilisent pour riposter. Le 25 novembre est conçu chaque année comme la Journée internationale pour l'élimination de la violence à l'égard des femmes. Son origine remonte à 1960 en République dominicaine où les sœurs Mirabal ont été assassinées parce qu'elles luttaient pour leurs droits.
Violence against women is a priority for women's groups and the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada. Across Canada and internationally, women are mobilizing to fight back. November 25 is marked each year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Its origin dates back to 1960 in the Dominican Republic, when the Mirabal sisters were murdered because they were fighting for their rights.
The debate over the right of a mentally competent adult with a terminal illness to have the choice and right to die with dignity is a growing societal issue in Canada.
Suicide was decriminalized in Canada in 1974 but counselling or assisting suicide continues to be an offence under Section 24 of the Canadian Criminal Code.
There is mounting evidence that shows the majority of Canadians support physician-assisted suicide. Recent opinion polls are one indication of that. The Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) unanimously passed a resolution at its 2011 convention supporting death with dignity.
The real meaning of retirement had come to him the first day. When it didn't matter what time he got up he could stay in bed all day. He didn't of course. Those first days all his interests seemed petty, not worth doing. It seemed to him that he had read all the books he wanted to read, heard all the music he wanted to hear. He thought of closing his eyes and turning his face to the wall. That was on the first days and he put on a show of enjoying having nothing to do for Dora's sake. He even said that he was relishing this slack and idle time. She saw through that; she knew him too well.
- Ruth Rendell, The Vault
La Sécurité de la vieillesse (SV) et le Supplément de revenu garanti (SRG) sont les seuls revenus pour beaucoup de femmes où elles sont garanties de recevoir le même montant que les hommes, quelle que soit leur histoire en tant que main-d'œuvre. La proportion du revenu remplacé par le SV et le SRG est beaucoup plus élevée pour les femmes et les personnes âgées à faible revenu, environ 70 pour cent pour ceux dont le revenu individuel est de moins de 15,000 $. Pour les femmes entre les âges de 65 et 69 ans, la SV et le SRG viennent réduire la pauvreté de 21 points du pourcentage. Pour les hommes du même âge, c'est 15 points du pourcentage. Donc, il est clair que repousser l'âge de la SV et du SRG n'est pas de genre neutre.