Olivia Chow tables CPP widows, widowers survivor plan

Kiavash Najafi –

The existing application deadlines on the Canada Pension Plan are disqualifying widows and widowers from accessing the CPP benefits of their late spouses. That’s why NDP MP Olivia Chow has put forward new legislation to abolish deadlines that restrict survivor benefit claims to 11 months.

Supported by CARP

“Across the country, grieving widows are losing pension benefits because of arbitrary rules,” said Chow (Trinity-Spadina). “Allowing survivors to receive their partner’s pensions is a matter of fairness and dignity.”

Chow’s efforts began when one of her constituents approached her about an experience with CPP’s application deadline. The woman was denied two years’ worth of retroactive payments because she had missed the application deadline while grieving the loss of her husband to cancer and undergoing hip surgery.

Chow’s bill proposes full retroactive benefits for claimants and eliminates the current 11-month limit for retroactive claims for the Canada Pension Plan. The Quebec Pension Plan already offers 60 months of retroactivity.

The bill is being supported by CARP—Canada’s largest advocacy group for people over 50—whose vice-president Susan Eng stated CARP is “in full support of removing the unfair rule that limits the time for people to apply for their CPP benefits. These are pension benefits that they paid for, not government largesse.”

“We owe it to countless grieving Canadians to make this change to the CPP,” said Chow. “I’m urging the federal government to support this important bill.”