RE: Urgent letter re CPP talks in Vancouver
Dear Premier Wynne, Minister Sousa and Associate Minister Naidoo-Harris,
This month is an important one for the future of retirement security in our country. The federal government is holding its second round of discussions on expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Clearly this is an issue you all care about, and the way you approach these meetings has huge significance for every Canadian today and for generations to come.
Under the previous federal Conservative government, your proposal to go it alone with the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) was a great show of leadership. It provided an important push for the much needed improvement to people’s retirement income. In its current form, the ORPP will mean close to 4 million Ontarians could see improved financial security in their final years.
Sadly, pressure from the financial sector has led your government to propose the exclusion of almost as many Ontarians. Your current proposal leaves at least 3 million ineligible to participate.
Given the changing nature of work, this will mean that complications in tracking people through their working lives and in and out of the ORPP, will divert money that could go to retirees to increased administration costs. Confusion over which employers will be required to participate in the plan and which are exempt, will inevitably lead to costly investigation and enforcement requirements that will further diminish the benefit to seniors.
These are only a few of the reasons why CUPE Ontario has been actively encouraging your government to ensure that all public pensions be universal. It is in no small part the universal nature of the CPP that has guaranteed its success.
All along, you have said the best way to deal with the looming crisis in retirement security is to enhance the CPP. However, in the most recent Ontario budget you wrote you would only support expansion of the CPP along the lines of the “targeted coverage consistent with the ORRP.” We strongly encourage you to reconsider.
We are at a critical moment in the history of our country. After years of a federal government that put its own ideology ahead of the needs of Canadians and in this time of global uncertainty, people are desperate for a visionary government that puts the wellbeing of all our citizens at the heart of its actions.
Retirement security is one of the most critical issues we currently face and it is incumbent upon us to make sure we get it right.
As you head into provincial negotiation with the federal government it is important to recognize Ontario is the biggest player at that table, and the positions you take on our collective behalf matter a great deal. You hold great power.
We need to get our country back on track, as an example to the world in how we care for our citizens at all stages of their life. Universal health care took the leadership of one provincial government. You now have the opportunity to show equal leadership by working with the federal government and your counterparts from the other provinces to enhance the CPP and ensure its ongoing universality so that all Canadians can retire with dignity.
You have an opportunity to be leaders in forging an expanded CPP for all future generations of Canadians - a legacy of which you could be eternally proud.