May 29, 1944

PENSIONS

OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement in regard to pensions for the aged and the blind.

As a result of negotiations with the provinces extending over several months, agreement has been reached on a number of changes in the administration of this scheme. I now wish to table two orders in council which have been passed implementing these changes. Before

Old Age and Blind Pensions

the new proposals become operative, a supplementary agreement must be entered into with each of the provinces. However, it is expected that in view of the provincial agreement to the substance of these changes, there will be no delay in the execution of these agreements. The effective date of their coming into force will be April 1, 1944, or such later date in the case of any province as may be desired by that province.

The most important change increases the amount of allowable outside income which a pensioner may have. When the maximum amount of pension \vas increased in 1943 from $240 to $300 a year, the maximum total income which a pensioner could have from all sources was allowed to remain at $365 a year. The allowable income from sources other than old age pension was therefore reduced from $125 to $65 a year. With the consent of the provinces, we are now providing for an increase in the maximum income which a pensioner may receive from $365 to $425 a year. In other words, the pensioner will be allowed other income of $125 a year instead of $65 a year, without a reduction in the amount of his pension. The maximum income allowed blind pensioners will also be increased by the amount of $60 a year.

While the amendment will not increase the maximum pension of $300 a year, it will benefit pensioners with small incomes who could not previously qualify for the increase in pension granted in 1943. Those who are now receiving an old age pension at the maximum rate of $25 a month would not be entitled to receive an increase in the amount of their pension, unless by way of supplemental allowances which are now being paid in certain provinces.

Other amendments are intended to meet as far as may be practicable under the present law the difficulties arising out of the residence qualifications. Certain of the existing regulations were causing disappointment and difficulty for pension applicants who for various reasons had been outside of Canada for extended periods or had found it necessary to transfer their residence from one part of Canada to another. One proposed change will enable an applicant who failed to qualify with the sixteen years' residence requirement between the ages of fifty and seventy, in the case of an applicant for an old age pension, and between the ages of twenty and forty in the case of an applicant for a blind pension, to make up the deficiency by a further period of residence in Canada equal to the deficiency. Under the old regulations in some extreme cases he might have had to wait sixteen full years following his return to Canada before

he qualified for a pension. Another proposed change will eliminate the necessity of an applicant who has recently moved to a new province returning to the province of previous residence for the sole purpose of applying for a pension.

Other cases of difficulty with regard to the residence requirement were found in instances of temporary absence from Canada as a result of service on ships or in fishing. The new regulation will permit such periods of temporary absence to count as residence in Canada provided the applicant maintained a self-contained domestic establishment in Canada during such periods.

Some weeks ago the house was advised that although there had been in the past certain legal doubt as to whether the clause relating to recoveries from estates of deceased pensioners was mandatory or permissive in its effect, the dominion in accordance with later -legal advice had indicated to the provincial pension authorities that whether or not recovery should be made from estates where the net value does not exceed $2,000 would be left entirely to their discretion.

These changes represent the result of a very careful examination of the steps which the dominion would recommend to make the present legislation meet the immediate practical problems without radical revision of the whole scheme.

As the house will recall, the speech from the throne stated that the working out of a comprehensive national scheme of social security, in which federal and provincial activities will be integrated, will require further consultation and close cooperation with the provinces and indicated that the government would be prepared "when suitable agreements are reached with the provinces," to recommend a measure for a national scheme of contributory old age pensions on a more generous basis than that at present in operation.

The adoption of a national scheme of contributory old age pensions would involve a fundamental revision of our old age pension legislation. This must, of necessity, await the holding of the dominion-provincial conference.

In adopting a contributory system it will, in my opinion, be found advisable not only to increase the scale of pensions but to reduce the eligible age and to have the pensions paid as a matter of right rather than on the basis of a means test, which is an essential feature of the present scheme and the cause of most of its administrative difficulties.

Certain of the provinces would be agreeable to lowering the eligible age from seventy to sixty-five years immediately for the non-con-

Old Age and Blind Pensions

tributary pensions being paid under the present scheme. It is, however, very doubtful whether it would be possible to obtain the agreement of all the provinces to such a reduction of the eligible age under the present scheme, as this would be a very far-reaching change involving a substantial increase in the financial and administrative burdens upon the provinces. If nevertheless, all or substantially all the provinces should make representations to the dominion government in favour of lowering the eligible age from seventy to sixty-five years under the present scheme, I can assure the house that the government will be prepared to give consideration to the acceptance of such representations as an interim measure in anticipation of and pending discussions with the provinces regarding a contributory scheme.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

May I ask whether the government has given consideration also to the position in which some older people appear to find themselves with respect to assigned pay and dependent's allowances? In some instances considerable hardship has been suffered by older people by reason of deductions in their old age : pensions because dependent's allowances and assigned pay have been granted them through some member of their families being in the armed forces. Will the minister look into that? I have in mind one particular case of extreme hardship, and that is what prompted me to ask the question.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

If the hon. gentleman will let me have the case I shall look into it. *'The matter has been fully considered and explained on many occasions in the house.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I shall be glad to do .that.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

A change was made in the regulations some time ago.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

A very important announcement was made by the Minister of Finance with respect to pensions at the opening of to-day's sitting. I believe that sortie forecast of this announcement was made in Saskatchewan over the week-end. Before^ the announcement was made in this [DOT]house it was said in Saskatchewan that further consideration was being given to the matter. With what is going on in that province we might expect things like that to happen.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Would the Minister of Finance make some comment on the question asked by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle

with respect to the premature notice given to the people of Saskatchewan in regard to the

changes in the old age pension regulations?

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I certainly gave none. I gave no notice of any kind ahead of the notice in this house. In fact part of what I announced was not decided on until noon to-day; therefore it could not have been communicated to the electors of Saskatchewan.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The other part might have been.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Certain candidates have been peddling it for quite a few days.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

What did they say? What have they been peddling?

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

They have been visiting those who receive the old age pensions telling them what was likely to happen.

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

What did they tell them?

Topic:   PENSIONS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE AND THE BLIND-CHANGES IN ADMINISTRATION
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STATEMENT RESPECTING GOVERNMENT MARKETING AND PRICE POLICY

LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, on April 27 I reported to the house that the basis of wheat marketings for the 1944-45 crop year would have to be determined at a later date, when account could be taken of the development of the 1944-45 crop, the probable export and domestic demand, and the elevator space and transportation available for handling the 1944-45 grain crops. The government will be in a much better position in July to appraise these factors bearing on the need for delivery quotas and an over-all limitation on wheat deliveries from the 1944 crop. For the balance of the 1943-44 crop year, however, I wish to announce that the eighteen-bushel limitation per authorized acre will be removed forthwith.

In the spring of 1941 owing to lack of available storage and restricted export demand, the policy of limiting deliveries to estimated export and domestic demand for the ensuing crop year was instituted. This policy meant, in effect, that the dominion government would permit marketings of that quantity of wheat which could be disposed of within the crop year. In 1941-42 the limitation was set at 230,000,000 bushels for all of Canada; in 194243 the limitation was 280,000,000 bushels for the west, and for the present crop year 1943-44 deliveries in the west were first limited to fourteen bushels per authorized acre; later this figure was increased to eighteen bushels per authorized acre.

Grain Marketing and Price Policy

As members of the house know, during the past year the demand for Canadian wheat, both at home and abroad, has increased substantially. To date in the present crop year, commercial disappearance of Canadian wheat has amounted to about 350,000,000 bushels, as compared with 213,000,000 bushels for the same period last year. We conservatively estimate that commercial disappearance of Canadian wheat for the crop year 1943-44 will amount to 425,000,000 bushels, as compared with 270,000,000 bushels during 1942-43. From August 1, 1943, to May 19, 1944, producers in the prairie provinces marketed 230,000,000 bushels of wheat, or 120,000,000 bushels less than commercial demand for Canadian wheat during the crop year to date.

The Canadian wheat board carefully surveyed remaining farm stocks in the prairie provinces and estimate that producers will market about 265,000,000 bushels of wheat under the eighteen-bushel limitation, and about 305,000,000 bushels if the restriction on deliveries is removed for the balance of the crop year. In other words, with the restriction on deliveries removed for the balance of the crop year, marketings during the present crop year will still remain about 120,000,000 bushels less than commercial disappearance for the crop year.

Available storage space in country elevators has been increasing rapidly in recent months, and at the present time there is over 100,000,000 bushels of space available for the immediate delivery of grain in the three prairie provinces, and grain is being shipped out of country elevators at a rapid rate.

The government's decision removing the restriction on the marketing of wheat for the balance of the crop year is therefore based upon a careful appraisal of domestic and export demand and the storage situation which now exists in western Canada.

Topic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING GOVERNMENT MARKETING AND PRICE POLICY
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

May I ask the minister whether the announcement he has just made removes the need for using our quota books at this time?

Topic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING GOVERNMENT MARKETING AND PRICE POLICY
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

The announcement is to the effect that the over-all restriction of eighteen bushels per authorized acre is removed.

Topic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING GOVERNMENT MARKETING AND PRICE POLICY
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

We will not use our quota books any more this season?

Topic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING GOVERNMENT MARKETING AND PRICE POLICY
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May 29, 1944