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In a recent opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal, Ray Turchansky got the facts wrong on the health of the Canadian Pension Plan. In this letter to the editor, I set the record straight and make a case for expansion of CPP.

Dear Editor,

RE: “Should we be forced to save for old age?” (January 18, 2013)

Addressing the retirement security crisis in Canada is too important of an issue to be clouded with misinformation. The Canada Pension Plan is not in financial trouble. Making false claims to further arguments against expanding the public pension does not serve the interests of Canadians unsure of what income they will have in retirement.

Federal actuaries have shown the CPP is sustainable at the current contribution rates over the next 75 years – a point acknowledged by both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Thanks to employer contribution holidays and chronic underfunding, many workplace pension plans are in trouble – leaving millions of Canadians unsure about their retirement futures. This is on top of the over 11 million Canadians without any workplace plan at all.

Expanding the Canada Pension Plan is unequivocally the most efficient and cost effective way to addressing this crisis. With gradual increases to contribution rates we can double CPP benefits, ensuring every Canadian worker can retire with decent income.

Not only will expanding the CPP help Canadians retire with dignity, there is ample evidence that the long-term effects will be positive for our national economy.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is deeply committed to expanding CPP, and hopes Canada’s finance ministers will see through the fog some are trying to create around this important public policy issue. CUPE urges them to show real leadership and move ahead with pension reforms that will help all Canadians.

Yours truly,

Paul Moist
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees