May 20, 2024

Government pensions are too low, say protesting Prince George Seniors

What’s life like if you are living solely on government retirement benefits, such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

According to Monica Murphy, 77, it means having to “line up at the food bank every week and shopping at thrift stores,” the Prince George Citizen reports.

“Last week there were 80 people in the food-bank line up and – there are wonderful people at the food bank – but with my health issues it’s a bit of a hardship to wait so long,” Murphy tells the Citizen. “A lot of people who are on a fixed income are struggling to make ends meet and I’m one of them.”

Use of food banks by B.C. seniors has jumped 78 per cent in the past five years, the Citizen reports.

Murphy joined a number of other seniors at the Seniors’ Tip Cup protest held in mid-March, the newspaper reports.

“Murphy joined a small but mighty – and peaceful – group that gathered with signs that said ‘seniors deserve respect’, ‘end senior poverty’, ‘we are tired of being poor,’” the Citizen article notes. “Murphy’s sign said ‘pensions are too low,’” the newspaper adds.

“The small Prince George contingent led by organizer Ken Aitchison joined the call to government for pension reform so that low-income seniors can reach Canada’s poverty line of about $25,000 a year. Most live on about $17,000 a year,” the Citizen reports.

“So many seniors are on fixed incomes, living below the poverty line, they can’t make ends meet and a light needs to be shone on that,” Natalie Mcquary, peaceful protester, tells the Citizen. “I know people who, after retirement, feel they have to go back to work to survive. These people have raised families and worked all their lives and to be struggling in their golden years isn’t right.”

Save with SPP interviewed Carole Fawcett, one of the founders of the Tin Cup movement, recently, you can see the story here.

The group has launched a website as well.

The benefits offered by the federal government to retirees are pretty modest, as the article points out. That’s likely because these programs were introduced at a time when most working Canadians also had a pension plan at work. That’s no longer as likely.

If there’s a takeaway, it is this. If you are fortunate enough to have any sort of retirement program where you work, be sure to take part and contribute at the maximum level. If you are saving on your own for retirement, a great partner is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. The heavy lifting of investing your money and growing it can rest on SPP’s shoulders, your job is simply to contribute money to your savings pot. When you retire, your options include having a lifetime annuity that pays you every month, or SPP’s Variable Benefit, which provides flexibility on your payouts.

Check out SPP today!


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