CPP Expansion Has Backing Of Vast Majority of Canadians: Poll

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As the country’s finance ministers met Monday to work out an agreement to expand the Canada Pension Plan, a new poll found Canadians overwhelmingly support the idea.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents in a new Angus Reid poll say they support growing the CPP either “significantly” or “moderately,” while 22 per cent said it should be left as is. Three per cent said it should be eliminated altogether.

cpp poll
Chart: Angus Reid Institute

The decline in employer-issued retirement plans “may be helping to drive this opinion, as Canadians look for a way to replenish their diminished savings,” said the Angus Reid Institute.

The survey found that it’s a virtual consensus opinion in Canada that people aren’t saving enough for retirement, with 86 per cent agreeing with that sentiment.

Even when confronted with the fact that expanding the CPP would mean smaller paycheques and higher payroll taxes for businesses, the same number — 75 per cent — supported expansion.

cpp expansion poll
Chart: Angus Reid Institute

But a significant minority — 42 per cent — said the economy is too weak right now to handle an increase in CPP premiums to employers and employees. Fifty-eight per cent disagreed.

cpp survey
Chart: Angus Reid Institute

Support for reform was highest among Quebecers — which the Angus Reid Institute noted puts residents of the province on the opposite side of the issue from its provincial Liberal government, which has opposed CPP expansion.

Support was lowest in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but even in these provinces a majority supported CPP expansion.

cpp survey
Chart: Angus Reid Institute

One major issue that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau needs to work out with his provincial counterparts is whether the CPP expansion should apply to all earners, or only those at risk of not saving enough for retirement.

finance minsters meeting
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, second from left, speaks with Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao (left) and B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong (thrid from left) during a meeting in Vancouver on Monday. (Photo: Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

There is also a question of whether an agreement can be reached with all provinces. Both British Columbia and Quebec — which runs its own separate Quebec Pension Plan — have expressed concerns about CPP reform, but their opposition appears to be waning.

Ontario has been the strongest backer of CPP expansion, with Premier Kathleen Wynne planning to bring in a separate provincial retirement plan if no reforms happen on the national level.

Saskatchewan, under the government of Premier Brad Wall, is the only province opposing any sort of CPP expansion.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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