Labour Day is about more than a well-deserved day off. It is a time to celebrate the important contributions working people make to our economy. It is also a good time to reflect on what is needed to improve the economic and social well-being for all workers. Economic recovery is being undermined by federal government actions over the last two years that erode workers wages, including: exploitation and fast-tracking approval for business to employ temporary foreign workers at wages below market rates; cuts to Employment Insurance and forcing workers to work at lower wages, continuous interference in the collective bargaining process on the side of employers, as well as attacks on unions and labour rights.
Is now a good time to buy real estate amid glowing reports of low mortgage rates and high demand Professional pictures of stunning homes and condos with granite, marble and nine-foot ceilings all serve as eye candy, tempting gullible and may dupe home buyers to drop down payments on not-so-smart real estate buys.
I read an article the other day that brought up a problem that sadly, happens more than we think; dying before you collect Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement benefits. The message was clear and correct -- a lot of people contribute a lot of money into CPP and never receive an income payment. Is this fair? I don't think so.
It is clearer than ever that most Canadians have to fend for themselves when it comes to retirement. For most retired Canadians, the combination of an employer's Defined Benefit Pension Plan, CPP and Old Age Security (OAS) provided them with a secure retirement lifestyle. This is not the case in 2013. Why?
When I'm lecturing to students I like to ask them how much a $100 pair of shoes costs. The most common answer is $100 plus tax. Would you believe me if told you it could be as much as $1,376.46? As a 20-year-old, if you convinced yourself not to buy the shoes, and invested it instead -- with an assumed rate of return of 6 per cent -- you'd have $1,376.46 by the time you were 65 years old.
Santa is a senior. My guess is he never had a defined benefit pension and needs the extra cash. He knows that although Canada has made great strides in eliminating seniors' poverty, too many of our older adults still live a low-income lifestyle, especially in major urban centres where costs of living are high. This Christmas season, I urge you to remember and reach out to the elders in your life.