New rules make it tougher for immigrants to get Guaranteed Income Supplement

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander unveiled changes to Canada's Citizenship Act in Toronto on...

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander unveiled changes to Canada's Citizenship Act in Toronto on February 6, 2014. (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 6:50 AM ET

OTTAWA - The Conservatives plan to make it tougher for immigrants to qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) - a financial aid program for the poorest in the country.

Right now, immigrants need to be in Canada for 10 years to be eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) and GIS.

The government is proposing to extend that time to 20 years before an application for GIS can be made. Applications for OAS would still be allowed after 10 years.

The new measures only apply to immigrants who arrive under the parents and grandparents program - in which the sponsor already in Canada agrees to bear financial responsibility for their relatives.

Under the new plan, someone who is sponsored would not qualify for GIS.

A government source explained the measure as being about "fairness."

"People who don't pay into the pension system should not get a massive amount of money while they're sponsored."

The measures should save taxpayers around $700 million a year.


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