Federal Retirees have questions for Bill Morneau following the release of Budget 2018

February 28, 2018
Honourable Bill Morneau.

This morning, Federal Retirees President Jean-Guy Soulière attended the Economic Club of Canada’s breakfast to hear remarks from Finance Minister Bill Morneau following the release of the 2018 Federal Budget. As noted in our budget analysis, this year’s edition has lots of shiny goodies, like merchandise crammed into a store display case. And like the nice things in the display case, not everything is exactly as shown.

To better clarify the seemingly piecemeal measures in the budget that relate to seniors and retirees, Federal Retirees hoped to ask the Finance Minister three questions. While questions were collected from attendees prior to the event, those questions were not asked.

Nevertheless, Federal Retirees persist. These questions are important and need to be answered, and we will ask them anyway.

  1. In the budget, you committed to “obtaining feedback from pensioners, workers, and companies” on protecting Canadians’ pensions. Your budget 2018 commitment to take a “whole-of-government, evidence-based approach” to address retirement security for all Canadians surely includes re-thinking your government’s current approach to pension policies, like allowing employers to renege on earned defined benefit pensions. Does this mean you will withdraw Bill C-27?
  2. On the health and seniors front, we saw a handful of fairly piecemeal measures in this budget. What would make a difference is a seniors minister. We had hoped to at least see plans for one in this budget. When can we expect this important role to be created and filled?
  3. Our Association was pleased to see plans to support the New Brunswick Healthy Seniors Pilot Project – a key part of our pre-budget brief and in our presentation to the House of Commons Human Resources committee in their study on advancing inclusion and quality of life for seniors. Canada has no shortage of innovative care delivery models that can work for seniors in terms of home care – the Veterans Independence Program and community-based programs that use existing infrastructure and services to ensure seniors get access to enough homecare and other health supports. Does your government have plans to support and invest in other innovative community or provincial programs with an aim to replicate them across the country?