Congress of Union Retirees of Canada

October 12, 2007 10:28 ET

Media Advisory/Congress of Union Retirees of Canada: Tuesday, October 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Union retirees will campaign for pension reform

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2007) - Retirees from across Canada, who are union members, will map strategy here next week to confront the growing crisis in retirement income where more than 60% of Canadian workers have no workplace pension at all and where many middle-income earners face a major drop in their standard of living when they retire because of inadequate pensions.

A policy paper for the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) Convention says public retirement income reform is imperative to end poverty for seniors, especially for the 17% of single elderly women in Canada who had incomes below the poverty line.

"We tackled this issue back in the eighties and nineties and reduced poverty for the elderly to 5.6% from 21% by 2004," says CURC President Larry Wagg. "But it's clear today that progress has ground to a halt."

The paper sets out a four-point action plan:

- Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement so that no senior has an income below the Low Income Cut-off after taxes.

- Work over the long term to increase Canada Pension Plan coverage to 50% of average pensionable earnings.

- Seek indexation of private pension plans.

- Press for a national housing and homecare strategy.

There are also a number of resolutions from some of the 107 CURC affiliates calling on seniors to lobby the federal government to impose stricter governance on private pension plans to curb misuse of surpluses and secure the plans' solvency. A key demand of retirees is that they be represented in any discussions that might affect the pension plan.

More than 80 delegates will get well briefed on the issues by pension authorities in a panel discussion on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

They include: Joel Harden, Canadian Labour Congress' pension issues coordinator; Kevin Collins, Pensions Analyst with the Canadian Auto Workers; Ross McClelland, a Policy Advisor to the Ontario NDP government and a pensions specialist with the Ontario Federation of Labour and Mary Eady, who was the first Women's Director of the CLC and was Deputy Minister of Labour in Manitoba.

CURC is a national inter-generational, voluntary organization. It acts as an advocacy organization to ensure that the concerns of senior citizens are heard throughout Canada. CURC, established at a founding Convention in 1993, is chartered by the Canadian Labour Congress and includes members from 107 affiliated organizations.

The CURC Convention is being held at the Travel Lodge Hotel on Carling Avenue, October 15 to 17.

Contact Information

  • Congress of Union Retirees of Canada
    Larry Wagg, 613-226-6010 until noon, Saturday, October 13
    613-722-7601 from noon Saturday, October 13
    to Wednesday, October 17