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Canadian Pension Reform Campaign
I am writing to ask for your assistance and participation in an issue of great importance to all Canadians. More than 11 million Canadian workers - or 68% of the workforce - have no workplace pension. Eight million have neither a private pension plan nor an RRSP. Pension analysts have estimated that, by 2030, two-thirds of Canadian retirees will not have enough retirement income and are looking at relative poverty. Canada's pension system is in desperate need of reform.
Expanding the Canada Pension Plan / Quebec Pension Plan is clearly the best option for this reform. The CPP/QPP already covers 93% of working Canadians. It's a defined-benefit plan, which means people have a clear understanding of what income they can expect in retirement. Its size makes it highly tolerant of risk. Its administration fees are low. It's a portable plan, following workers no matter if they move to a different job or a different province.
The labour movement, led by the Canadian Labour Congress, has therefore designed a plan to increase the CPP/QPP and ensure that no Canadian retirees are forced to live below the poverty line. The plan has two major proposals:
1) a doubling of the CPP/QPP benefits (which are paid for by employer and employee), by increasing what workers currently save through CPP/QPP contributions by 0.43% of pensionable earnings each year for seven years.
For a worker earning $47,200 or more per year, the initial cost of gradually doubling future CPP/QPP benefits works out to about 9 cents an hour, or $3.57 a week. That’s less than the cost of a newspaper subscription, but would see the worker's CPP income double upon retirement.
2) an increase to the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for retirees.
Closing the poverty gap for seniors is not expensive. It is possible to do so immediately through a modest 15% increase to GIS benefits, which would cost $1.1 billion. This is a small fraction of what’s currently spent on tax subsidies for RRSPs.
The IATSE is once again launching an online lobbying campaign to call for action on this issue. I am asking all Canadian members to participate by emailing Jim Flaherty, the Federal Minister of Finance. Copies will also be sent to your MP, your MPP/MLA and your provincial Finance Minister.
Clicking on the link below will bring you to a form field which will ask for some basic information. This information will be used to personalize a template letter we've drafted. It will also fill in your name and address (if you entered it). The subject line and the letter itself are completely editable, and I strongly encourage you to personalize the letter. Once you hit "Submit", your letter will be sent.
Results from the last online lobbying campaign proved that the membership, working together, can affect change. I hope you will use this software once again to make your voices heard. This is an issue that affects every single one of us; if not today, then tomorrow.
Matthew D. Loeb
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