"The federal government has a major role to play in combating seniors' poverty in the most effective way — by increasing the benefits to the CPP." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President
Ottawa (21 Dec. 2015) — After a lifetime of hard work, no one should have to retire in poverty. But if you or family members are worried about being able to afford to retire, you’re not alone. Today, nearly two in three working Canadians—that’s 11 million workers—have no workplace pension plan.
With baby boomers about to retire in unprecedented numbers, the Conservative federal government had largely ignored the looming crisis and insisted Canadians can just fend for themselves.
Liberals campaigned on expanding the CPP
Now, Canada has a new government that made a campaign commitment to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and provincial and federal Finance Ministers are now meeting to discuss the issue. Therefore, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is calling on the provinces to work with the federal government to realize their campaign pledge by committing to universal expansion of the CPP. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is an affiliate of the CLC.
"The federal government has a major role to play in combating seniors' poverty in the most effective way," says James Clancy, National President of NUPGE, "by increasing the benefits to the CPP."
"During the election, we pressed all parties to make this commitment," Clancy continued. "And two out of three parties said they would increase the CPP. This meeting with the Finance Ministers is a good opportunity for the new government to show its commitment to this promise."
Expanding the CPP makes good sense
It’s time for a universal expansion of the CPP:
- The CPP benefits everyone. It follows workers anywhere in Canada, no matter how many times they change jobs.
- The CPP is cost-effective. The CPP works well with low-management fees because of its universal and straightforward application. It keeps up with the cost of living and pays out benefits for life.
- The CPP is safe. Financed exclusively by workers and their employers, regardless of how the stock market performs, the CPP will be there when we need it.
CPP intended to be a supplement to workplace pensions, not the only pension
The rate for CPP contributions was originally set up assuming that most workers would be able to supplement CPP savings with workplace pension plans. But now that employers are abandoning workplace pensions, the CPP is the only way in which most workers, especially young workers, routinely save for retirement.
Even a workplace pension isn’t always enough to guarantee retirement security. More and more workplace pension plans are seeing benefits reductions. And with life expectancies continuing to increase, employees covered by defined-contribution plans run the risk of outliving their pensions. The CPP doesn’t have that problem: it pays out benefits for life.
Finance Ministers need to act on changes to CPP to fight seniors' poverty
A small increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions could help make things easier. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee and a donut a day, the average worker could double their CPP benefits at retirement. Repeated polling has shown that an overwhelming majority of Canadians already supports expanding the CPP through a small increase in contributions.
“I hope the Finance Ministers take a serious look at the retirement crisis our country is facing. Expanding the CPP for all working Canadians today is the best way to fight seniors’ poverty tomorrow,” CLC President Hassan Yussuff concluded.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE