No more Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to prisoners

The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and John van Dongen, B.C. Government Caucus Whip and MLA for Abbotsford-South, spoke to victims’ groups today about a new bill that will amend the Old Age Security Act and terminate payment of Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to prisoners.

As a result of the action of our government, inmates will no longer be able to collect taxpayer-funded Old Age Security payments,” said Minister Day. “Our government committed to taking immediate action to stop these payments, and Canadians know when our government makes a commitment, we follow through.”

“The BC government is proud to be the first province on record to support the federal government in this action against the unfair allocation of income support to prisoners,” said Mr. van Dongen.

“It’s great to see that this government is putting victims and taxpayers first ahead of criminals. The suspension of OAS benefit payments to inmates does just that,” said Sharon Rosenfeldt, president of Victims of Violence. “I commend Prime Minister Harper and Minister Diane Finley for taking leadership on this important issue and ending entitlements for convicted criminals.”

In Canada’s Jobs and Growth Budget, the Government stressed that it is committed to treating taxpayers fairly. The OAS program is funded through general tax revenues and is designed to help seniors meet their immediate, basic needs in retirement. Since an inmate’s basic needs, such as food and shelter, are already met and paid by public funds, there is no reason for Canadian taxpayers to also fund income support for inmates through OAS benefits.

Implementation will begin with inmates who are incarcerated in federal penitentiaries for two years or more. The Government of Canada will work with provinces and territories to continue implementation in provincial and territorial institutions for inmates serving sentences of greater than 90 days.

Edited by Tapa Menon

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