Ottawa – The federal Conservative government risks making retirement nothing more than an unlikely dream for millions of Canadians by further delaying the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the country’s largest union.
“There is simply no denying Canadian workers are facing a retirement income security crisis. Over 11 million workers have no workplace pension. Decades of stagnant wages have left the vast majority of workers unable to save on their own. Ignoring these facts is reckless. Failing to act is reprehensible,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, reacting to the outcome of today’s meeting of provincial and territorial finance ministers with their federal counterpart, Jim Flaherty.
Despite growing consensus among the provinces and territories, and mass public support, Minister Flaherty continues to delay expanding CPP – widely acknowledged by financial and pension experts as the most efficient, effective and affordable way for as many Canadians as possible to secure a decent retirement income.
“There is no credible empirical evidence backing up claims expanding the CPP will hurt our economy. This is a weak excuse for not showing the leadership Canadians desperately need on this crucial public policy issue,” says Moist. “CPP contributions are deferred wages, like all contributions to pension plans – whether they are private or public. For Minister Flaherty to keep calling them a payroll tax is an outright deception.”
CUPE will continue working with the Canadian Labour Congress, allies, and all Canadians who want an expanded CPP. Through gradual increases to contributions paid by employees and employers, CPP benefits could be doubled, allowing millions of Canadians to retire in dignity with decent incomes.
“The Conservative government can’t keep putting its faith in ineffective non-solutions like RRSPs and other voluntary savings vehicles,” says Moist. “Canadian workers are demanding action on expanding the CPP.”