CPP payments bigger problem than MLA pensions

Fewer workers are able to sustain retirement savings plans today

Re: MLA pensions out of touch with real world (Letters, March 15)

While I agree with the sentiment expressed by Martin Battle that an $89,000 annual pension for the cabinet minister’s pension seems excessive, the second part of his letter should be of even more concern to Canadians.

The current maximum Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments combined are approximately $21,000 per annum.

Given that so many employers are pulling back from pension plans, leaving more workers to rely on CPP and OAS alone for retirement income, these numbers are inadequate for someone who has worked all their life to have a decent and sustainable retirement.

Couple this with the squeeze over the last three decades on workers’ income by the cost of living and it becomes clear fewer workers are able to sustain personal retirement savings plans. This is evidenced by how few Canadians are able to take advantage of RRSP plans.

The Canadian Labour Congress has proposed a plan to double the CPP portion of the national program by gradual increases of both employer and worker premiums over a multi-year period.

Private investment options, as proposed by the Conservative government, are not reliable enough to secure the future for retirees in Canada. Workers need assurances the publicly funded CPP will be there for them when their working days are over, and be adequate to allow them to live in dignity and contribute as consumers to the Canadian economy.

Tony Sprackett

Victoria