OTTAWA – CUPE National President Paul Moist says the federal and Ontario governments are taking a step in the right direction by acknowledging that government has a major role to play in ensuring retirement security for Canadians, and that an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is the best way to do it.
“After a year of cross-country government consultations, it’s reassuring to see that the CPP is recognized as a stable and effective solution to Canada’s looming pension crisis,” said Moist.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario’s Finance Minister Dwight Duncan both outlined positions yesterday supporting increases to the CPP system. The ministers praised the CPP as a secure, portable and well-managed retirement system.
While Moist applauds the ministers for supporting an expansion of the CPP, he says the program will need more than a modest enhancement to be effective.
“Since most Canadians do not have workplace pension plans, CPP benefits need to be improved significantly in order to achieve real retirement security for Canadians. CUPE recommends benefits be expanded to a maximum of $22,000 per year.
Right now, CPP payments are only $6,000 to $11,000 per year.
Moist also hopes the finance ministers will keep other important reforms on their radar when meeting in Prince Edward Island this weekend to talk pensions.
“Even with the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), over 200,000 seniors continue to struggle in poverty. An increase to the GIS would lift hundreds of thousands of poor pensioners above the poverty lines,” says Moist.
“We also need better regulations to protect workplace pension plans from bankruptcy. I hope that Canada’s finance ministers have learned from the Nortel experience.”
However, today Moist says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the ministers’ backing of the CPP. “Supporting a secure, public solution to Canada’s pension crisis is a very positive first step. As our finance ministers head into this weekend’s meeting, I hope other provincial leaders will support this very necessary expansion of the CPP.”
For more information:
CUPE Media Relations – 613-852-1494