OTTAWA – Eighty per cent of Canadians believe increasing Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits should be the Harper government’s first priority for improving retirement security, and 81 per cent say CPP should be an important issue in the next federal election, according to a new national poll released today.
Environics Research Group completed the survey in early January for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in the wake of Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty abrupt announcement late last year of the Conservative government’s intentions to delay CPP enhancements. It surveyed 1,001 Canadians between January 6 to 11, with an error marginof +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
“Most Canadians are against anymore stalling on improving CPP,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “Gradually increasing CPP premiums paid by workers and employers to increase benefits is clearly viewed as the best and most widely supported option to help Canadians save more for their retirement.”
The opinion survey also shows a majority of Canadians oppose delays by the federal government in improving CPP. Over 50 per cent are against the decision by the Harper Conservatives to delay increasing CPP benefits in favour of private pooled pension plans for individuals who can afford to make contributions. Only 38 per cent support the move.
“The public has not been swayed by the Conservative’s risky and unproven alternative to CPP enhancements that will only benefit banks and mutual fund companies—not working Canadians,” says Moist. “They want a strengthened CPP with increased benefits, and they want it now.”
Support for improving CPP crosses all political stripes. Seventy-four per cent of respondents who identified themselves as Conservatives agree that increasing CPP benefits should be the Harper government’s first priority for improving retirement security for Canadians. That’s only slightly below the national average. Conservative voters also say reform efforts are moving too slowly at the same level as the national result.
“The reality is 11 million Canadians are without any workplace pension plan, and many cannot afford to contribute to Retirement Savings Plan,” says Moist. “Canadians see that the Conservative’s pooled pension scheme does not address their needs, and they are clearly pointing to CPP improvements as the best way for retirement security for all.”
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CUPE Media Relations