Retirement Security for All

Retirement security is one of the most pressing economic issues facing Canadian families today. As many as 5.8 million Canadians - nearly a third of our work force - are facing a steep decline in their standard of living upon retirement, and for many young Canadians, the situation is even more dire.

Without real action now to improve pensions and savings, and to finally come to grips with the challenge of an aging population, Canada is facing a retirement security crisis in the future.

Many Canadians are not saving enough for retirement, Provincial Governments, the Canadian Labour Congress, Canada’s largest retirement organization CARP, and other experts have all been calling on the government to move forward with plans to increase the CPP. Even the Chief Executive Officer of the CIBC has been speaking out about the need to improve public pensions.

Right now, only 38.8% of Canadians have access to a workplace pension plan, 32.6% of Canadians have access to a defined benefit plan and only 17.4% of employees in the private sector have access to a defined benefit plan, down from 30.7% in 1982. In 2008, in Canada, 122,000-567,000 seniors were living in in poverty.  These numbers tell a story of an increasingly insecure retirement future for Canadians, and it is clear that if we do not act to secure pensions, the very stability of Canada’s economic future is at risk.

In January 2012, Stephen Harper announced that he would increase the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS), effectively raising the Canadian retirement age from 65 to 67. New Democrats have committed to reversing these changes, and experts like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer agree that this cut was not necessary, and that the OAS is sustainable.

Cuts to retirement security made by this Conservative government (totalling 11 billion), and the previous Liberal administration (totalling 15 billion) have a devastating impact. By 2030 Liberal and Conservative government cuts will have drained $26 billion a year in retirement income out of the pockets of Canadians.

To achieve a secure retirement, and secure future for all Canadians, a New Democrat government would:

  • Reverse the Conservative age increase (from age 65 to age 67) to the eligibility age for OAS
  • Increase GIS to eliminate poverty among seniors
  • Increase mandatory CPP with the goal of doubling the maximum benefit

The reality is that Canada can’t afford not to invest in improving retirement security. And as the Conservatives tell Canadians they will have to work two more years to collect Old Age Security, and the Finance Minister fails to live up to commitments to work with the province to increase the CPP, they’re ignoring the very real challenges that Canada’s aging population faces.

I have put forward motion in the House to expand CPP/QPP and pressure Conservatives to move forward with the provinces and territories on that expansion.

The full text of the motion is:

M-471 — October 30, 2013 — Mr. Rankin (Victoria) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should agree with provincial and territorial finance ministers to move forward with an increase to basic public pension benefits under the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, and implement a plan to begin phasing in such an increase without delay.

The NDP also launched a national campaign to improve retirement security focused on increasing Canada and Quebec Pension Plan benefits.

Add your name to the growing list of Canadians calling on the government to: immediately agree to requests from provincial and territorial finance ministers to move forward with an increase to basic public pension benefits under the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, and implement a plan to phase in such an increase without delay.Sign the petition here: http://petition.ndp.ca/growCPP

New Democrats are putting the focus back on your priorities and we will continue to fight for your pension, and for retirement security for all Canadians.

 *Murray Rankin is the Official Opposition Critic for Pensions