Brit expats in Canada join fight against frozen pensions

Published:  11 Mar at 6 PM
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Over half a million British state pensioners live overseas in countries where their pensions are frozen.

Retired Britons living in Australia, Canada and New Zealand make up a considerable number of the half -million UK expats existing on frozen state pensions in spite of the fact they’d paid National Insurance contributions for all their working lives. Oddly enough, those living in the USA have annual upgrades, as do those living in EU member states – at least until the UK’s 29th March deadline for leaving the EU.

Chair of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners Ian Andexser recently spoke on behalf of the campaign’s members and the entire 137,000 British pensioners in Canada whose annual pension increases were cut off the moment they left British soil. Andexser told reporters Brexit is likely to bring even more unfairness to the hated system, adding the British government has never agreed to begin talks aimed at sorting out the unfair payout differences in Canada but is happy to assure all 490,000 state pensioners in post-Brexit Europe their annual uprates will still be paid, at least for two years. Apparently, the British government is entering agreements with EU member states ensuring the annual increases will continue after the promised two years, but are not willing to do the same for British expats in Canada.

Mr Andexser is a typical example of how the hated discrepancy affects retired Brits who’ve played according to the rules all their working lives and are now left counting the pennies. He hit retirement age in 2016, after having lived in Vancouver since 1975, and continued to make voluntary payments to the British scheme in order to claim his state pension on retirement. He now receives £111 weekly as against the full pension of £164, as he’s a few payments short in his contributions, and is grateful he’d had the common sense to pay into the Canadian pension scheme as well. Others, he told reporters, aren’t as lucky, quoting a 94-year old Briton who moved to Canada on retirement to be near his daughter. The state pension at the time he left the UK was £43 weekly, and that’s all he still gets now, some 30 years later. The Commonwealth Charter, says Andexser, states ‘all citizens should be treated equally’, and is just a bad joke as far as British expat retirees in Canada are concerned.
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