MURRAY RANKIN: Act now on retirement plans

Current pension strategies may not be enough for future retirees

Retirement security is one of the most pressing economic issues facing Canadian families today.

As many as 5.8 million Canadians – nearly one third of our total work force – are facing a steep decline in their standard of living upon retirement.

For many young Canadians, the situation is even more dire. Without real action now to improve our pensions and savings, and to finally come to grips with the challenge of an aging population, a retirement security crisis is looming.

The simple truth is this: a great number of Canadians are not saving enough for retirement. Provincial governments, the Canadian Labour Congress, Canada’s largest retirement organization CARP, and various financial experts have all called on the federal government to move forward with plans to increase the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

CIBC chief executive officer, Gerald McCaughey, has also spoke out about the need to improve our public pensions, and the former chief actuary of the Canada Pension Plan also supports increasing the CPP.

In January 2012, Prime Minister Harper announced that he would increase the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS), effectively raising the Canadian retirement age from 65 to 67. New Democrats have committed to reversing these changes, and expert bodies such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as well as the Parliamentary Budget Officer, agree that this dramatic change was not necessary, and that the OAS is entirely sustainable.

By 2030, Conservative cuts to Old Age Security will slash $11 billion in retirement income from seniors by raising the retirement age to 67 – that amounts to $13,000 in retirement savings out of the pocket of every Canadian senior.

Combined with cuts made by the previous Liberal administrations, cuts to both CPP/QPP and OAS will take $26 billion in retirement income away from Canadians.

Provincial finance ministers have indicated strong support for an increase to the CPP, yet in June, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty failed in his commitment to meet with finance ministers from across Canada to discuss increasing the CPP.

Now he says a meeting is planned for December. But the Conservatives have not given any indication that they will stop standing in the way of a pension benefit increase.

Along with Opposition finance critic Peggy Nash, I sent a letter to Minister Flaherty outlining the need to get on with such a meeting and to increase CPP benefits as soon as possible.

We will continue to fight for a more robust pension system and for retirement security for all Canadians.

The reality is this: Canada cannot afford not to invest in improving retirement security.

And as the Conservatives tell Canadians they will have to work two more years to collect Old Age Security, and the finance minister fails to live up to commitments to work with the provinces to increase the CPP, they are ignoring the very real challenges that Canada’s aging population faces.

The CPP Investment Board is one of Canada’s most successful investment funds that offers low risk and high return, and Canadians should be benefitting more from it. It is clear that if we do not act to secure pensions, the very stability of Canada’s economic future is at risk. The time to act is now.

Murray Rankin is NDP Member of Parliament for Victoria and Opposition critic for pensions and national revenue.

Just Posted

Study moves Oak Bay closer to contraceptive control for problem deer

The report says between 78 and 128 black tail deer live in the affluent beach-side community

Two missing Victoria children found safe

VicPD responded to two separate missing children calls Tuesday

Chim Chim Cher‑ee! Mary Poppins is coming to Oak Bay High

Mary Poppins opens Friday, Feb. 22, at the Dave Dunnet theatre

Crews repair damage after Tuesday night water main break in Langford

Flooding resulted in property damage, forced evacuation from Langford homes

Saanich amalgamation committee holds first meeting

Saanich councillors call for a transparent process to ensure success of study

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Most Read