OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – The finance minister’s federal budget includes cutting over 19,000 jobs and the old age security eligibility has been raised from 65 to 67 years old. People over the age of 54 will not be affected by the change to old age security.

The government says the change is necessary to ensure the pension system is around for future generations. Here ins BC, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says it’s unclear how this will affect people who are planning their retirement.

“Clearly there is going to be some impact, I’m particularly going to be looking at what the impact is for low income British Columbians.”

Changes to Old Age Security will be phased in starting in 2023.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says people are living longer, so the Harper government doesn’t want to get in the way of them working longer.

“We’re also making a very important change next year, so that person turning 65 may choose to delay receiving their benfits for up to five years which will give a chance to have higher benefits if they choose to continue working.”

Jordan Bateman is the The Canadian Taxpayer Federation’s director, and he says they applaud the move to raise OAS. “By 2030, there’s going to be less than three workers for every retiree, you just can’t afford to run the system without making changes.”

Penny

Jim Flaherty also says the Royal Canadian Mint will stop making the coin later this year, but they will remain legal tender until they are all gradually pulled from use. Prices will be rounded up or down, and he says stopping the production of the penny will save $11-million a year.

Jobs & Spending

There are no major new job creation initiatives but there are incentives to boost trade and resource development.

Flaherty has also announced what he calls “moderate” cuts in discretionary spending worth $5.2-billion by 2015.

The Finance Minister downplayed the cuts to come over the next three years, saying the country will see benefits in the long run. “See how much is in this budget that looks not just at the short term, but out to 2020 and beyond.”

He calls the austerity measures modest compared to what we saw with the liberals in the 90′s. He adds slashing government waste and making changes to old age security will keep Canada financially stable for decades. Throughout the budget, the government did not use the term cut, they referring to spending changes as ‘savings’.

Cross-border Shopping

Right now, anyone returning to Canada after a 24-hour trip can only bring back $50 worth of goods before being taxed at the border. Today’s budget announcement will raise that to $200.

Ken Oplinger with the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce says this could mean a boom in business for US border towns. “So if this means Canadians will be able to do more shopping here and have less of stop at the border to pay the duty, I think it’s going to be a positive sign”

The duty-free allowance for Canadians who travelled outside of the country for more than 48-hours will double to $800 and comes into effect June 1st.

CBC

The budget was tough on the CBC. Canada’s public broadcaster has had its budget cut by 10 per cent. The corporation says that amounts to $115 million over three years.

It hopes to let people know how the cuts will affect programming as soon as possible.