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The following letter, written by CUPE National President Paul Moist, is a response to an editorial published by the Times Colonist on July 21, entitled “Saving seniors from poverty”.

Dear Editor

Re: Editorial: Saving seniors from poverty

I am heartened that the Times Colonist is examining the retirement crisis facing Canadian seniors. Study after study shows that Canadian workers can’t afford to save enough for retirement. Unless things change, baby boomers and future generations will face serious declines in living standards upon retirement.

However the article underestimates the appetite for expanding the Canada Pension Plan. Polling conducted shows that workers are willing to contribute more to CPP to fund benefit increases, even when concrete numbers are used.

There are many benefits to expanding the CPP. It is entirely possible to improve benefits and have the plan maintain sustainability - in fact, it is a requirement that benefit improvements must be fully pre-funded, meaning the plan’s sustainability will be ensured beyond 75 years. 

The private sector retirement system is clearly not working. Most Canadians do not contribute to their RRSPs; less than 25 per cent contributed last year.

As participation in the CPP is virtually universal, private sector, public sector, unionized and non-unionized workers would all benefit from an expanded CPP. A gradual and modest expansion of the Canada Pension Plan is the best way to ensure retirement security for all Canadians.

Yours truly,

Paul Moist
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees