Dec 16, 2010

Flaherty backs away from real pension reform

OTTAWA—Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s proposal for a pooled retirement pension plan is a step backward from real pension reform. Instead of improving the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Flaherty's proposal is a sign Canada’s banks and financial institutions have hijacked this important issue, says Canada’s largest union.

“A pooled registered pension plan fails to address the real needs of Canadians not able to save for retirement,” says Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A recent Environics poll shows 74 per cent of Canadians don’t make RRSP contributions because they can’t afford it.

“It’s outrageous that Canada’s banks and financial institutions have managed to pull the Conservative government’s strings to put this option on the table,” says Moist. “This proposal will only leave Canadians exposed to gouging by Canada’s mutual fund industry, who charge the highest administration fees in the world.”

The best, most effective, and most cost-efficient route to addressing retirement income insecurity, says Moist, is expanding the CPP, the option overwhelmingly supported by Canadians.

“Polls show more than three quarters of Canadians support increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits,” says Moist. “Minister Flaherty and the Conservative government can ignore this support at their own peril.”

Moist is calling on provincial and territorial finance ministers to respect the wishes of Canadians and reject Flaherty’s proposal when they meet with him next week in Kananskis, Alta.

“I am urging finance ministers not to abandon the best solution for Canadians in favour of the best solution for banks and financial institutions,” says Moist. “Expanding CPP is just the right thing to do.”

Moist says CUPE will continue to work on behalf of the millions of Canadians who support the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan.

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