A Stronger Canada Pension Plan
For your entire career you work hard and build a good life for your family. Every Pay cheque, your deductions include a small amount that is tucked away in your public pension plan.
When retirement comes, you expect to be able to live in dignity with some measure of financial security. Yet this recession has shown that things might not be as secure as you have been led to believe. Your RRSP has been decimated by the global financial crisis.
And if you had been counting on your company pension plan, you might be in for an even greater surprise. Over the past year more than 5,700 companies have filed for bankruptcy. In many of those cases, the pension plans were underfunded and workers stand to lose out to other creditors.
For most of us, then, the most secure retirement savings we have are in the Canada/Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP), to which the vast majority of Canadians and their employers contribute. But at present, the maximum benefit it offers is $11,000 a year.
Yet the CPP/QPP remains the single most effective solution to ensure retirement security. It’s portable, sustainable, risk free and publicly (and cheaply) administered. It pays predictable benefits that don’t fall if markets collapse.
You contribute to it with each paycheque you take home. It’s safer than many company plans because the risk is shared with the 93 per cent of Canadians who are members. And it is protected by legislation. That means that if even if your employer is declared bankrupt, your retirement savings are secure – unlike workers at Nortel, for example.
It also pays benefits progressively, so if you pay in more while working, you receive higher benefits when you retire. Its only drawback is the limit on the contributions you and your employer can make.
New Democrats want to raise that limit so that you can contribute more now and receive better benefits later.
Currently, the maximum CPP/QPP available benefit is $908.75 a month for an individual retiree. By allowing you and your employer to contribute an additional 2.5 per cent, the maximum benefit would gradually rise to $1,817.50 per month.
To put that 2.5 per cent contribution increase in perspective, most RRSPs charge that in administration fees. In fact, RRSP holders paid $25 billion in fees and commissions to mutual funds in 2007 alone. In exchange, they watched their retirement savings shrivel as many RRSPs lost up to 50 per cent of their value in the last year.
Instead of pumping more money into mutual funds and other investment vehicles that investment advisors tend to recommend, we believe that you and your employer should be allowed to contribute more money to CPP/QPP so you receive a far better benefit when you retire. Risk free.
The retirement-savings reform package New Democrats have put forward – from expanding CPP/QPP to protecting company pensions when bankruptcies occur – are the most effective and well-developed now under discussion in Ottawa. With the Conservatives tinkering at the edges and the Liberals only just beginning to talk about what needs to be done, there is no question that our party is in the lead on this issue.
We urge all parties in Ottawa to recognise that the national crisis in retirement savings requires national solutions and national leadership. Implement our plans. Ensure retirement security for Canadians. There’s no more time to waste.
Federal NDP Candidate
Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry
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