Flaherty fails Canadians on CPP again

"The real threat to our economy is the constant attack on the wages of Canadians, something being encouraged by the Harper government. When people have less income, they spend less, or they borrow more and they have less to save for retirement. None of these scenarios help build a stable economy," continued Clancy.

Ottawa (20 Dec. 2012) — Once again the federal government is refusing to put the well being of Canadians at the forefront of discussions concerning the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). At a meeting, over the weekend finance ministers from across the country met to discuss improvements to CPP benefits. Despite signalling he would consider improvements to retirement income, Flaherty again stalled the idea suggesting the economy is not yet stable enough to make such a change.

"Should we be thinking that the silver lining is that Flaherty is not slamming the door on the idea altogether?" said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "While that is progress, this wait and see attitude doesn't help those living in poverty during retirement or those having to postpone retirement because of a lack of income."

"The real threat to our economy is the constant attack on the wages of Canadians, something being encouraged by the Harper government. When people have less income, they spend less, or they borrow more and they have less to save for retirement. None of these scenarios help build a stable economy," continued Clancy.

Government-administered pension plans were initially designed to provide modest benefits to supplement employer-sponsored pensions and personal savings. As the Caledon Institute of Social Policy points out, "The Achilles heel of Canada's retirement income system is that private pensions and savings plans never grew sufficiently to properly serve the replacement objective for many Canadians."

It is becoming clear that many are becoming frustrated with Flaherty's fallback position blaming the provinces for a lack of consensus on the issue. Many provinces have become quite vocal about the need to improve CPP to help Canadians survive.

"The federal government continues to throw up roadblocks on the path to improved CPP benefits," said Clancy. "The Harper government is failing Canadians due to its lack of action on such a critical issue. Their refusal to show leadership on this issue hurts people and families across the country, and hurts our struggling economy."

The next meeting of finance ministers takes place in June 2013. The National Union will, through the Canadian Labour Congress' campaign Retirement Security for Everyone, continue to pressure the federal and provincial governments to make retirement security an urgent priority.

More information:

Retirement Security for Everyone President's Commentary: The top ten reasons to expand the Canada Pension Plan CPP biggest pension fund in Canada Linda McQuaig: Public better than private on pensions

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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