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March 29, 2010

The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5


Dear Minister Flaherty:

Re: Consultations on Canada’s retirement income system

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is pleased that the government will hold cross-country consultations on Canada’s retirement income system.  This initiative is a welcome first step toward much-needed national pension reform.

However, as details have emerged about the scope of the consultations, we are concerned that there will only be limited opportunities for Canadians to be a part of the consultation process. We feel that only three public events in Charlottetown, Quebec City and Richmond will not engage or represent a sufficient number of citizens concerned about retirement issues.

Millions of Canadians are facing an uncertain future in retirement.  Only one in five employed in the private sector belong to a workplace pension plan, and over 11 million Canadian workers have no pension plan at all.  We feel that by holding only three public forums, there is no way to accurately gauge the concerns of the millions of Canadians who are worried about their retirement.

Solutions for fixing Canada’s retirement income system should not come on an invitation-only basis.  Millions of Canadians are worried about their pensions – more of their voices need to be heard.

To engage in a truly broad consultation with Canadians, we suggest that at least one public town hall meeting be held in each province.

 We know that your government shares our concerns about the current weakness of Canada’s retirement income system.  We encourage you to broaden your consultations to include the millions of Canadians who are concerned as well.

Yours truly,

National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees