Old Age Security being denied to naturalized Canadians

One issue that is growing is how Service Canada deals with OAS applications especially for people who immigrated to Canada a long time ago

Cowichan  has long been a destination: for Finnish people who moved to the Island to be part of the fishing industry, for war brides who came home with their new husbands after the war, for the many Hindi and Punjabi foresters who came to work as loggers.

So it is no surprise that immigration issues loom large in the casework that my constituency office helps residents with each month.

One issue that is growing is how Service Canada deals with Old Age Security (OAS) applications especially for people who immigrated to Canada a long time ago, or as children, so they do not have landing documents.

Many naturalized Canadians, after years of interaction with government for paying taxes, voting in elections, getting married or getting a student loan, thought their landing documents no longer mattered. But that has changed. Now Service Canada is asking for proof or date of entry into Canada to determine eligibility for the full OAS pension. For those residents whose documents were lost over the years, they must apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for replacements, before they apply for their OAS.

That’s where the real problem begins. Recent decisions by the Conservative government to cut the number of government employees and front-line service centres means there are fewer options for Canadians to reach a CIC representative for help. There is no CIC office left on Vancouver Island — the final one closed last year. My office has seen many residents coming in for help because they cannot reach anyone on the phone at CIC and looking for information on the Internet is an unfamiliar or unavailable option.

New Democrats believe that the government does not need extra documentation to determine how long someone has lived in Canada. Especially for naturalized Canadians who have lived here for decades. Like the changes the Conservatives have announced to delay eligibility for OAS until age 67, this is a cynical attempt to deny Canadians the benefits they have worked hard for.

While we have been told that the two departments, CIC and Service Canada, are working on a protocol to ensure they can access information to determine eligibility, that doesn’t help residents who are being denied OAS right now.

 

Just Posted

Duncan Christian Chargers third at Islands

The Duncan Christian School Chargers senior boys volleyball team wrapped up their… Continue reading

Lake Flashback: Tragedy strikes the Lake, RCMP call in Sikorsky chopper, and thieves leave their tools behind

Three accidental deaths in one grim week, and air crane required to save fish from wrecked truck

VIDEO: Lake Cowichan fire department celebrates long service

The annual event sees several earn awards as well as the retirement of Ray Bourassa after 30 years

Hal Kerbes back in Chemainus for a favourite holiday blockbuster

Veteran actor comes out of retirement to play Kris Kringle and make us believe in Santa Claus

’Tis the season for holiday cheer with a Ken Lavigne Christmas

Enjoy the magic of the season with the region’s largest indoor snowball fight

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

Most Read