Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

November 03, 2007 08:00 ET

REMINDER/Canadian Labour Congress-Double CPP Benefits: Pension Conference

Asking tomorrow's seniors to fend for themselves is not the Canadian way

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 3, 2007) - A major conference on pensions is calling for changes to the Canada Pension Plan aimed at doubling the benefits it currently offers.

According to the Canadian Labour Congress, boosting the CPP is one of the best ways to guarantee more of tomorrow's seniors aren't faced with retiring into poverty or being unable to retire at all.

"Canada is a rich country. It can afford increased funding for public pensions and a decent life for today's and tomorrow's retired workers," says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"Instead of simply cashing-out the federal surplus with billions of dollars in tax cuts for profitable corporations and wealthy individuals, instead of guaranteeing that surplus exists by choosing to do nothing, the federal government should be providing for the long-term needs of our aging population. Asking tomorrow's seniors to fend for themselves is not the Canadian way," says Georgetti.

Based on the recommendations in a paper presented to the 3rd CLC Pension Conference, an increase in CPP benefits from 25% of the average industrial wage to 50% can be accomplished through a combination of measures that include raising the ceiling of pensionable income to $90,000 combined with a modest increase in CPP premiums and allowing workers to transfer RRSP savings into their CPP accounts.

"Our own research shows Canadians would pay for more generous CPP or public pension benefits. In a 2006 poll, working Canadians told us by a margin of 71% they would pay more tax for higher pension benefits," he says.

Georgetti says the trends all point to a retirement income crisis in years to come. The growth in Canada's over age 65 population, combined with younger workers opting for smaller families and the continuing loss of high-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector present challenges. Add to this the reality that most Canadians find it increasingly difficult to save towards retirement and the fact that many Canadians owe more than they earn. Millions of older Canadians will retire into poverty, if they can afford to retire at all.

"To avoid that outcome, we need real political leadership on pensions, not to mention on the health care and housing needs of an aging population. What Canada needs is a 40-year plan to address the challenges of a larger retiree population and a smaller workforce. Boosting public pensions like the CPP needs to be part of that plan," says Georgetti.

For more information about the 3rd CLC Pension Conference, visit http://pensions.canadianlabour.ca

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413