pensionsCanada’s largest union is ramping up its efforts to expand the Canada Pension Plan. The National Executive of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has passed a resolution pledging to keep fighting for a full, universal doubling of CPP benefits for all workers.

“With only 4 in 10 Canadian workers having a work place pension plan, expanding the CPP is the only solution to Canada’s retirement income security crisis,” said Mark Hancock, national president of CUPE. “To be most effective, any CPP expansion needs to be for all workers; part-time and full-time workers, and those with and without a workplace pension.”

The resolution, passed by the NEB at it’s December meeting, calls on CUPE to oppose any CPP expansion limited to just one segment of workers. CUPE will be working with the Canadian Labour Congress to mobilize union members across the country to escalate CPP expansion efforts.

“We will be educating CUPE locals on the importance of expanding the CPP, and what it will mean for the retirement incomes of our members and all workers, “ said Charles Fleury, national secretary-treasurer of CUPE. “It’s important for all Canadians to know how vital expanding CPP is to the retirement security of future generations.”

NEB RESOLUTIONCPP EXPANSION

CUPE NATIONAL will:

  1. Quickly escalate our efforts in the fight for a full, universal doubling of CPP benefits;
  2. Oppose efforts to restrict CPP expansion to targeted segments of the workforce and ensure that any expansion of the public system is substantial and universal;
  3. Educate CUPE pension trustees and locals about the different impacts that CPP expansion could have on their workplace plans and on how much compensation is deferred for retirement;
  4. Work with the CLC to increase member mobilization to raise the public profile of the campaign for universal CPP expansion, and
  5. Continue working to ensure that all CUPE members, including part-time members, have a decent and secure retirement after a career of work.

BECAUSE:

  • The Canadian labour movement has a long history of supporting pensions for all Canadian workers through the public system.  The labour movement has always believed that the benefits provided by the CPP were too modest and we have consistently fought to see them expanded.
  • CPP expansion is the only solution to an impending retirement income crisis.  Only 4 in 10 Canadian workers have a pension plan at work and projections show significant portions of future generations will fall short of a decent, secure retirement.
  • The new federal government officially supports some kind of CPP expansion, levels of provincial support are high and timelines may be tight due to the 2017 implementation of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
  • Pension funds (whether workplace plans or CPP) are workers’ deferred wages.  An expansion of the public system provides an opportunity for members, unions and employers to re-configure how much compensation they want today and how much they want to defer.  A larger public pension plan allows workers the opportunity to defer more of their wages to achieve a better income in retirement.
  • A larger CPP also creates an opportunity for workers with defined benefit workplace plans to defer about the same level of compensation for retirement, by renegotiating the terms of their workplace plans so that their eventual pension is about the same, with a larger portion coming from CPP and a smaller portion coming from their workplace plans on a go-forward basis (i.e. “integration”).  In many cases, further integration with an expanded CPP could address employer concerns about reducing workplace plan risk without compromising the retirement security of members.  When CPP was introduced in the 1960s, different plan-level decisions were made about whether and/or how to adjust workplace plans with the newly-introduced CPP.
  • While CUPE National always wants our members to have the best pensions possible, we recognize that the decisions about how much current compensation to defer to retirement should be left up to workers and employers in each plan.