'It’s time to consider expansion of our public universal workplace pension plan, the CPP.' - Joan Jessome.
Halifax (12 Nov. 2009) - The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) is supporting a recent call by the provincial finance minister for national rather than regional pension reform.
The union strongly believes the best solution to the retirement security crisis in Canada is an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), says NSGEU president Joan Jessome.
“We agree with the minister’s sentiments but hope he will be a strong advocate for expanding the CPP."
Finance Minister Graham Steele has said publicly that he disagrees with a decision by B.C. and Alberta to press ahead with a voluntary, supplementary pension plan for their residents if a national consensus is not reached soon on how to ensure that all Canadians have income security in retirement.
Jessome noted that an obvious source of this crisis has been private sector failure to provide decent workplace pensions for Canadians.
“The fact that three of every four workers in the private sector do not belong to a private pension plan is unacceptable in a nation as wealthy as Canada. It’s time to consider expansion of our public universal workplace pension plan, the CPP," she said.
"It is abundantly clear that the level of CPP benefits is too low. It is equally clear that for over six million Canadians (without workplace pensions or RRSPs) the CPP is their only real source of retirement income," she notes.
"CPP needs to be changed to benefit all workers and provide greater retirement security while making our overall pension system better fit the needs of a changing economy. It has the capacity to provide Canadians with a greater proportion of retirement income because it’s well-funded and has a superior benefit design.”
Jessome says expanding public pensions will go a long way in improving the financial security of Canadian seniors.
"It would also reflect Canadian values. Like all public programs and services, our pensions system is an important tie that binds us together as a nation. It is an expression of our collective commitment to one another and to the fundamental democratic principle that all citizens have the right to income security and dignity,” she adds.
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