Poverty Among Seniors Rising


    Poverty among Canadian seniors is on the rise and current pension safety nets may be inadequate to address the problem, says a study on global pensions by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It shows that Canadians over 65 years of age are relatively well off when compared with most others in the 34-country group of advanced economies. The average poverty rate for the group in Canada was 7.2 per cent, better than the 12.8 per cent OECD average. However, it says there are gaps. For example, as poverty rates were falling in many OECD countries between 2007 and 2010, in Canada they rose about two percentage points. Government transfers to seniors in Canada account for less than 39 per cent of the gross income of Canadian seniors, compared with the OECD average of 59 per cent, meaning more Canadians depend on workplace pensions to bridge the gap. It says Canadian seniors depend on income from private pensions and other capital for about 42 per cent of their total, but “as private pensions are mainly concentrated among workers with higher earnings, the growing importance of private provision in the next decades may lead to higher income inequality among the elderly.”