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Old-age benefits have dramatic effect on poverty for immigrants, study says

A new study says recent immigrants who are seniors when they arrive in this country are far less likely to live in poverty if they have access to federal old age benefits. Government of Canada public pensions web page is shown on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — A new study says recent immigrants who are seniors when they arrive in this country are far less likely to live in poverty if they have access to federal old-age benefits.

To qualify for the old-age payment, someone must live in Canada for at least 10 years after age 18, a prerequisite that means some immigrant seniors don’t qualify.

Seniors who immigrated to Canada in the last two decades and received old-age security payments had low-income rates that were seven percentage points lower than those who didn’t qualify for the financial help.

The Statistics Canada study released today uses census data to show that the old-age security program is more effective at reducing poverty among seniors the more time they spend in Canada.

Overall, the national statistics office says a quarter of senior immigrants who arrived in the two decades before the 2016 census are considered low-income by one standard measure.

The federal Liberals promised as part of their election platform to boost payments under the old-age security program for seniors once they reach age 75.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.

The Canadian Press