A bill that will cut off federal income support for incarcerated seniors was passed today (December 14) in the Canadian Senate.
The Harper government introduced the legislation in June after news that serial killer Clifford Olson was receiving more that $1,100 a month in federal benefits while imprisoned for the murder of 11 children in B.C. in the early 1980s.
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, who denounced the federal payments to imprisoned seniors as “offensive and outrageous”, said in a news release today that, “It is wrong that convicted killers like Clifford Olson were receiving taxpayers’ entitlements such as Old Age Security.”
Olson has threatened to sue the government if the bill passes.
The new law will prevent 400 senior citizens serving sentences of two years or more in federal penitentiaries from receiving monthly Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement cheques.
The government is also negotiating with the provinces to cut off benefits for inmates serving less than two years in provincial jails.
Finley has estimated an annual savings of $2 million by ending benefits for federal prisoners and up to $10 million once provincial prisoners are included.
The government doesn’t expect much resistance from the provinces, as most already deny provincial benefits to jailed seniors.
Upon their release, prisoners would be allowed to apply for benefits.