June 21, 1951

CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

One o'clock.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Would my hon. friend not let the resolution carry? I am sure that after this adequate discussion he will be glad to give me the measure of co-operation that he usually affords.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

No, Mr. Chairman. I have two or three questions, and I do not think it fair to Hansard that we stay longer now.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Ask them now.

At one o'clock the committee took recess.

The committee resumed at three o'clock.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

At one o'clock, Mr. Chairman, I suggested that we give a few minutes consideration in committee to this resolution, because of a few questions that are of concern to the people affected by this legislation. As the minister can well understand, I have a fairly heavy volume of correspondence on this subject. I may say further that, like the Minister of National Health and Welfare, I recently spent a few days in Manitoba. In fact, I was there for the same purpose that he was there.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Not quite.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Somebody says "not quite." In other words, I was there for the opposite purpose. While I was there, a considerable number of people asked me questions about this legislation, and they are the kind of questions that are being put to me by correspondents. They are questions that accept the basic framework of the new program but seek information as to details that are important to the people affected.

Old Age Assistance Act

In the first place I find that people are anxious to know when and how they will go about applying for each of the pensions now envisaged. Some publicity has been given to the fact that there will be a registration for the pension for those 70 and over; and I take it that we may get information about that matter later in the present session. So far as I can ascertain, however, no information has been given as to how and when people are to go about applying for this new pension for those from 65 to 69. Can the minister say something on that question?

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

To answer the second part of the question, they will apply in the way that they apply now. Persons who have reached the age of 65 will apply through the provinces, as they do now, subject to certain procedures that will be adopted as a result of discussions that we shall be having in the month of July when, in conformity with an undertaking given to the provinces, the interprovincial old age pensions board will meet.

As to the group 70 and over, I stated this morning that a supplementary item will be presented asking for finances and authority to take steps to provide for registration of those who are qualified for the universal pension at 70. In that connection may I say that we already have arranged, with the consent of the provincial departments concerned, to send officers to examine their present files in order to preclude any undue delay. We propose to use our ten regional family allowance offices as centres from which to conduct the operations in each province. The more than 300,000 people now in receipt of pensions will not have to register in the usual way, because they are known to be qualified for the pension under the existing act. The 400,000 or so others who we estimate may qualify will apply for their pension on forms that are now being printed. Through the press, the radio, and any other means it may be thought desirable to acquaint the general public with the requirements, ample notification will be given, so that on January 1, 1952, these people will be fully registered and will be able to qualify.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

That registration will start some time fairly soon, will it? I believe July has been mentioned.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

As quickly as we get the authority, we will act. We have already started, as a matter of fact.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

From what the minister said with regard to the group from 65 to 69, I take it that those in that bracket who wish to apply for the pension will, in effect, have

4428 HOUSE OF

Old Age Assistance Act to wait until the discussions with the provinces have been had, and, perchance, until the provinces have passed any supplementary legislation that may be required. That means that it may be later in the year before they can apply. I hope that the minister's department, in the publicity that it gives to these two plans, and to the registration and the making of applications for these two pensions, will do its best to avoid confusion. There is already some confusion in the public mind. I take it that registration for the 70 and over pension is likely to start fairly soon,-

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I have said that.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

-but that the making of applications for the 65-69 pension will be delayed for a few months. I hope that the advertising done with regard to this matter Will clear up these various points.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

There will be no delay whatsoever on our part with regard to the 70 and over group. With regard to the 65-69 group, my hon. friend knows that we are not in full control of the situation. The reason why this legislation is being introduced today is to ensure that, as soon as it is passed, we shall be in a position to conclude agreements forthwith with every one of the ten provinces. Whether or not these agreements are concluded will depend upon the decision that each province takes in the light of its obligations, as it sees them, and in the light of the circumstances attending in that province. As soon as this legislation is passed we shall lose no time in getting agreements with each province. In fact, the agreements are already partly formulated. In some provinces there will be a desire-and I suppose in some cases there will be the need-to call the provincial legislatures. From my discussion with the provinces a few weeks ago, I understand that will be done forthwith. The provinces and ourselves, subject to what I have said about their authority and their having the final control, will not, I feel sure, sponsor any delay whatsoever in this matter.

My hon. friend will understand that the extent of fulfilment of the agreement depends upon the other contracting party, both as to the fact and as to the extent of its participation. So far as we are concerned, we are putting on the statute book enabling legislation to provide old age assistance at the age of 65, operative as of January 1, 1952. It could be-I do not say that it will be the case-that some provinces might wish to begin at a higher age. If they do, that would not prejudice the operation of the plan to begin at 65 in any other province that wanted to do so. It could be also that some provinces will not be disposed-and again I am not saying that this will be the case-to accept

the financial responsibility involved in some of the amendments with regard to permissible income and the like, and would prefer to have a lower figure. If such a province wanted an agreement of that kind, we would not stand in the way. Our hope would be that there would be uniform adoption of the legislation by all provinces but naturally each of them will have to assess this matter in the light of its commitments and of its own situation. In the recent conference with the provinces, while there was a disposition on the part of some of them to delay the application until April 1, I told them that the government's position was that so far as we were concerned the operation of the whole scheme, both for the universal pensions and the pensions for the sixty-five to sixty-nine age group, would be operative as of January 1, 1952.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

I will not pursue that matter any further except to say this to the minister. I for one would not object if he asked parliament for sufficient dollars to advertise this whole matter properly so that the people affected will know precisely where they stand.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

We will.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

I have a second question and then one more that the people are asking me. The first of these two questions relates to the time when the first cheques will be issued. A good deal has been said about January 1, 1952 being the effective date of both pieces of legislation. Those who are experienced with old age pensions know that under the present plan the cheque for the month of January is not received until the last day of January-at least that is the case in most provinces. People who will qualify for the new pension, free of the means test, at age 70 or over are wondering when they will get their first cheque. Will they get it at the end of January, the middle of January or the first of January? Some hon. members are acting as if these are not important questions, but they are very important to the people affected. I ask the same question with regard to those in the group from 65 to 69. Will the payment that they receive for the month of January be as it is at the present time, at the end of January? Will it come along in the middle of the month, as in the case of family allowances, or could it not be on the first of the month?

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin.:

As I said, the operation of the whole scheme comes into effect on January 1, 1952. The cheques will be payable around the end of the month.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

I will pursue that when we get the bill. That was not a very satisfactory answer.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

Let us wait until we get the bill.

Topic:   OLD AGE ASSISTANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   PAYMENTS AT AGE 65
Permalink

June 21, 1951