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OTTAWA - A private members’ bill introduced by Ontario Liberal MPP Jeff Leal is out-of-step with the provincial and federal governments’ position on pension reform, and if passed, would seriously undermine efforts for national pension reform.

Leal’s proposal would mandate employers with more than 20 employees to provide a retirement savings plan, even though employers would not be required to make contributions and workers can chose to opt-out.

“Bill 54 wouldn’t provide any of the substantial pension reform that is needed to help our workforce retire with dignity,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.

“What Canadians need are portable, secure, sufficient and affordable pension plans. This bill merely locks in profits for the insurance and investment industries, while doing nothing to meaningfully address the pension crisis happening in this country.”

Moist says the bill is in conflict with a serious, pan-Canadian policy dialogue that is still underway at both federal and provincial levels.

“Both federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan have been holding consultations on pension reform and have said consistently that all options remain on the table. Passage of this bill would derail a serious public policy discussion that should be open and ongoing when Canada’s finance ministers meet in Prince Edward Island to discuss pensions.”

CUPE is advocating for an expansion to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), an increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and tougher laws to protect pension plans from bankruptcy, high-risk investments and employer underfunding.

“An expanded CPP would mean improved benefits for the 93 per cent of Canadians who make contributions. It’s portable, and it’s secure through 2085. Management and administrative costs are a fraction of those charged by mutual fund companies. We need to think about what’s best for Canadians, not what’s best for Bay Street.”

For further information:
CUPE Media Relations