Government of Canada Ends Entitlements for Prisoners

June 02, 2010
Ottawa, ON — Tom Lukiwski, Member of Parliament for Regina – Lumsden – Lake Centre, applauded the introduction of a new bill that will amend the Old Age Security Act and terminate payment of Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to prisoners. 

“Our government is following through on our commitment to treat taxpayers fairly. We are ensuring that public funds are put to good use,” said Mr. Lukiwski. “Canada’s taxpayers should not be funding OAS benefits for prisoners as well as the costs of incarceration, which already cover their basic living needs.”

The bill was tabled June 1, 2010, in the House of Commons by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

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 and maintain a minimum standard of living in retirement. Since a prisoner’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 prisoners through OAS benefits.           

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