"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Martin Luther King Jr
117 years ago, Canada enacted “gold-digger” legislation that denied surviving spouse pensions to members of our military if the government deemed the spouse unworthy. Today our government denies surviving spouse pensions to our military and others if the retiree entered a spousal relationship after age 60.
The concept of denying survivor pensions has been expanded to include other retirees, who simply choose to marry after retirement. The unfairness of both kinds of legislation is shown in these real-life examples.
Marriage after age 60
Navy Commander Terry, recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and the Canadian Forces Decoration, married after age 60, which meant his wife Corazón was ineligible for a spousal pension. Instead, Terry was offered our government's "flexible" option. He could forever relinquish $903 per month of his $2,250 pension to provide a $761 spousal pension.
Terry could not afford the draconian 40% cut in the pension he earned while serving his country. Terry passed away in 2016 and, after 30 years of marriage, his widow Corazón is now dealing with the consequences of being denied a pension by the country Terry so bravely served.
To learn more about Terry please visit our News page:
Marriage after retirement
Robert was in his late fifties when he took early retirement for the most compelling of reasons: his wife was dying of cancer and he wished to be at home, easing her suffering and ensuring that she would not be alone in her final days. Not long after, she passed away.
A few years later, Robert was lucky enough to meet Irene and fall in love again. Robert and Irene were both in their 80s and, although they had been married more than 20 years, Irene would have been left destitute. We are sorry to report that Irene has passed.
Retirement should have been a carefree time for these couples but it is marred by the fact that they lived under an oppressive cloud of constant worry.
How can anyone consider spouses like Corazón and Irene to be gold-diggers?