Pensions: CUPE votesCanadians need and deserve a secure retirement. The government should expand the CPP and strengthen existing legislation to help every Canadian enjoy a dignified and secure retirement at the end of their career.

Why it matters

  • Fewer than 40 per cent of Canadian workers have a pension at work, and fewer than 25 per cent have a secure, “defined benefit” type of plan.
  • Research consistently shows that significant portions of future generations will not have enough to retire with dignity.
  • Even the Department of Finance projects that 1 in 5 families would still not be saving enough for retirement, even after the modest CPP expansion.
  • The minority with decent workplace pensions face constant efforts by employers and governments to seriously reduce plan benefit levels and security.

How the current policy is falling short

  • The Trudeau government has made several positive moves on retirement security - most notably, the 2016 modest expansion of CPP and reversing Harper’s cuts to Old Age Security.
  • However, the Liberals broke a pre-election promise and introduced controversial Bill C-27, which would give federally regulated employers a legal path to break the pension promises they’ve already made to workers.
  • The Liberals have proposed some minor changes to laws to better protect pensions in bankruptcy situations, but they are not substantive enough to solve a growing problem.

What should be done

  • The only solution to the ongoing problem is further universal expansion of the public pension system. The recent expansion of CPP, while a step in the right direction, was overly modest and leaves much room for necessary improvements. The government should also take steps to expand the Old Age Security system, which is projected to decline in cost relative to the size of the economy over the long-term. Canada’s public pension system remains too modest compared to most other developed countries.
  • Withdrawal of anti-worker, anti-retiree, and anti-pension Bill C-27 and a promise from all parties not to reintroduce such legislation if elected.
  • Real protection for pensions in the case of bankruptcy, including reform of bankruptcy laws to make sure pensioners are first in line when it comes to paying creditors, and a national system of pension insurance.