Canadian Pension Plan legislation requires three years' notice to implement any change - even a good one. So even if the provinces were able to pause from elbowing each other for federal attention long enough to agree on a CPP increase this year, no change in contribution rates would take effect until 2019.
A new report came out this week that reiterates what we've heard from other sources a few times now: Canadians aren't saving nearly enough for retirement. The Deputy Chief Economist of the CIBC warns that without pension reform now, younger workers today will see a steep decline in living standards as they retire. The Conservative government has recently announced it would like to have a dialogue with Canadians about a potential expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While this, in itself, is a purely political action -- since it commits the government to nothing -- it is worth looking at what the possible outcomes might be.
Canadians are worried about their retirement. Recent polls show that among working aged people there is a growing concern that they simply won't be financially secure in retirement. This concern is validated by statistical data showing that a significant segment of society is having trouble saving enough. Instead of turning a blind eye to a known problem, the Government of Canada should be trying to help Canadians retire with dignity. Clearly, the time is right. All that is missing is federal leadership. Unfortunately, Canadians just won't get it from Stephen Harper, who has always disliked the CPP.
In a speech in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, Kevin Sorensen, Minister of State for Finance, introduced details of a new "hybrid" pension plan proposed for all federal workers and other corporations under federal pension regulation. He referred to these proposed plans as Target Benefit Pension Plans.
A recent Sun Life survey has provided some sobering food for thought ahead of a holiday season that often means less sober endeavours for many. It seems that at year end, the majority of Canadians are no better off financially than they were a year ago and that situation worsens for those 55 years of age and older.
Bad public policy ideas are like Jason Voorhees in those old Friday the 13thmovies: no matter how many times you think you've killed them, they keep coming back to cause trouble. As the federal and provincial finance ministers get ready to discuss a number of issues, the country faces a very real problem: too few Canadians have begun to save for retirement.
Most Canadian private sector taxpayers are blissfully unaware of the existence of a wonderful bonanza public sector workers enjoy at their expense -- namely, the Canada Pension Plan bridge benefit. But if people were fully informed about the special treatment accorded to public sector workers, one aspect of which being the bridge benefit, they likely would have been less willing to jump on the bandwagon of later retirement for themselves.