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With federal and provincial finance ministers agreeing to further negotiations to expand Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits at their recent meeting in PEI, CUPE National President Paul Moist says the labour movement continues to make progress to win improved retirement incomes for all Canadian workers.

“These are positive developments,” says Moist, “and it means CUPE will now have to focus on a two-prong approach.

“We will need to lobby provincial governments to win their support for expanded CPP benefits. And we must boost pressure on the Harper government to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to lift hundreds of thousands of low income retirees out of poverty.”

Moist says provincial backing is vital if reforms are to be won because of the CPP amendment formula. Two-thirds of provinces representing two-thirds of the population must sign on for any change to be implemented.  

“It’s time to step up our efforts to make sure we get the real reforms we need,” says Moist.

He encourages all CUPE members to act by telling Prime Minister Harper that Ottawa must act now to solve the pension crisis faced by Canadian workers.

Moist also congratulated CUPE leaders and activists in PEI and New Brunswick who worked with the Canadian Labour Congress to organize high profile events during the finance ministers meeting to support pension reform.