OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 29, 2014) - Wed., Oct. 1 marks the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and is designated as a global day to both highlight seniors' issues and celebrate achievements. In Canada, the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) warns the federal government's stonewalling and obstruction on critical issues will result in much worse conditions for current and future retirees.

CURC's members fought for many of the rights and benefits that Canadians enjoy and are deeply alarmed by the Harper government's efforts to undermine both their own and future generations' living standards and quality of life. Contrary to this year's theme, the Conservatives are leaving millions behind and in more dire circumstances.

For example, despite the mountains of evidence on the need for true retirement security by expanding the Canada Pension Plan, the Conservatives continue to block every avenue in favour of bolstering the private sector which has proven unsuitable for delivering needed benefits to the average person. As a result, many future retirees will face a drastic drop in their standard of living; indeed, poverty will be the fate of too many - especially women.

Harper is also taking us backward by raising the OAS/GIS eligibility age to 67 and by encouraging employers to tear up past pension promises and move from defined benefit pension plans to targeted benefit plans.

What is needed today is a federal government that will join with the provinces, instead of fighting them, to increase the CPP/QPP to 50% of the average wage.

Good health care is essential for seniors, but Medicare is also suffering from the Harper government's antipathy towards it:

The Conservatives' plan calls for the federal share of health care spending to drop dramatically at the very time Canada's population is aging, placing enormous financial strains on provincial and territorial governments. The share of federal transfers in health spending is set to fall from the current level of 20% to below 12%;

We are one of a few G7 countries without a dementia strategy;

We are the only country in the world with a medicare system that excludes prescription drugs as if they are not part of the health-care system. When compared to the other OECD countries, Canadians pay among the highest costs per capita, with one in 10 unable to fill their prescriptions for financial reasons. But, like retirement security, the federal government would rather pander to the private sector than opt for the effective and common-sense solution of a pharmacare plan. The recently released report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions notes that pharmacare for all Canadians could save up to $11.4 billion a year by decreasing drug costs and reducing administration fees.

These are just some of the pressing issues facing today's seniors and the next generations. Our members have played a significant role in fighting for and achieving a better society for all. On this International Day of Older Persons, we pledge to redouble our efforts to leave no one behind and promote a better society for all generations. Our children and our grandchildren's futures are at stake and we can do no less.

CURC represents more than 500,000 union retirees.

Twitter: @unionretirees


Contact Information:

Len Hope
CURC Executive Board Member
519-386-2342 (cell)

Louisette Hinton
CURC Executive Board Member
514-512-6099 (cell)