TORONTO — It seems like Canadians may be heeding the repeated warnings about loading on debt — unless they’re a senior.A study released Wednesday by TD Bank found that although last year Canadian household debt levels grew at their slowest pace since 2003, debt accumulation by those aged 65 and over is markedly up.Using statistics from Ipsos Reid’s Canadian Financial Monitor, which surveyed about 12,000 households, the report found that seniors on average gained more than $6,000 in new debt, or 15% more in 2012 than the previous year.Canadians are entering retirement more indebted than everMost of this came from consumer spending, even though the overall assets of those 65 and over changed little.Although seniors on average still had the lowest levels of debt compared to other age groups at $47,549, the report warned against gaining so much debt so quickly.“The updated figures add credence to the recent theme that Canadians are entering retirement more indebted than ever,” it said.TD says seniors living in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec had the highest rates of debt accumulation in 2012, compared with their counterparts in the Atlantic region, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, who paid down debt.It also found that on average, those aged 45 to 64 were most likely to pay down all types of debt for the first time since the survey began in 2002.The average debt for this age group was $92,819, which decreased by $2,731 or 2.9% compared with 2011.Debt among 25 to 44-year-olds also slowed, with those in this age bracket seemingly cutting back on credit card spending and taking on new personal lines of credit but still opting for mortgage debt.The average debt for this group was $137,259, up $1,654 or 1.2% in 2012.Meanwhile, those between 18 to 24 had an average debt load of $71,628, up $3,030 or 4.4%.TD cautioned that although debt levels among seniors remain relatively low compared to other ages, the amounts may still have the potential to impact their futures if they cannot afford to take on the additional financial burden.“Older Canadians, on average, still hold relatively little debt and many have significant assets to fall back on,” said the report.“Debt growth among older Canadians, however, is a concern because it still raises questions as to whether higher debt burdens will affect their standard of living in retirement.”The Canadian Press
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the offender, Hamid Ahmadi, was 17 years old when he was sentenced to death in 2009 for the fatal stabbing of a young man in a fight between five boys, the year before. The court relied on confessions reportedly obtained under torture and ill-treatment at a police station. Mr. Ahmadi was also denied access to a lawyer and his family. “To our knowledge, in the case of Hamid Ahmadi, the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process contained in international human rights instruments have been disrespected and, the allegations of torture and confessions extracted under duress were not taken into consideration nor did the lead to any investigation,” the human rights experts said. “Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a Government’s international obligations, and particularly when a conviction is based on confessions extracted under torture, is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution,” they stressed. Mr. Ahmadi’s execution, planned to take place – by hanging – on Saturday, 4 February, is the third time it has been scheduled. In the two previous instances, they were halted at the last minute. Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a Government’s international obligations, and particularly when a conviction is based on confessions extracted under torture, is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary executionOHCHR further noted that the Iranian Supreme Court had overturned the death sentence in 2009 due to some doubts about the testimony of several key witnesses but ultimately upheld the death sentence a year later. Furthermore, following the adoption (in 2013) of new juvenile sentencing provisions of the Islamic Penal Code, Mr. Ahmadi was granted a retrial but was eventually re-sentenced to death by a Provincial Criminal Court in December 2015. Unprecedented rate of scheduling and even conducting executions of juveniles The experts also condemned that execution of juveniles continue to be scheduled and even conducted at an unprecedented rate in the country since the beginning of the year. “On 17 January, we already intervened to halt the execution of another juvenile,” they noted. “Since then, we have learned that two other juveniles have been hanged on 15 and 18 January. Arman Bahr Asemani and Hassan Hassanzadeh were both juveniles at the time they allegedly committed the offence for which they were sentenced to death.”Underlining that that international standards unequivocally forbid the imposition and execution of the death penalty on persons below 18 years of age, the UN experts urged Iran to observe its international obligations by putting an end to the execution of juvenile offenders “once and for all.”The human rights experts voicing their concern included:Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in IranAgnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executionsNils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishmentBenyam Dawit Mezmur, current Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent experts monitoring implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State partiesIndependent experts and Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva based UN Human Rights Council – an inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world – to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.