For generations, workers either stayed on the job until they died, or because they were too ill or old to work any longer, retired into a life of poverty.
Together, workers said enough. Canadians that had worked their lives for an employer should not be used up and thrown away when they got too old to be of use to their employer. Workers who are too old to work and too young to die should live their remaining years in dignity.
Together, workers negotiated pension plans in their workplaces. They arranged for part of their wages to be set aside, so that it would be there for them when they retired. They also got employers to contribute, in recognition of the service to (and profits made for) employers during their careers.
Workers didn’t just demand dignity in retirement for themselves. They demanded public pensions for all Canadians, whether in paid work or not. Workers fought for and won Old Age Security in 1952, the Canada Pension Plan in 1965, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement in 1966. Together, this country’s public pensions are responsible for Canada having one of the lowest old-age poverty rates in the industrialized world.
Where are we today with pensions?
Canada is at a crossroads, just like it was forty years ago when it was time to do something about our health care system. Today, we need to do something about retirement income, and we need to do it soon. It’s time to change some things
The problem with Canada’s retirement income system has become so obvious that even bank economists have started to admit the RRSP approach has failed. There’s too much risk and not enough security to ensure that, after a lifetime of work, people can retire and live out their last years in dignity.
The federal and provincial governments must:
- Phase in a doubling of payouts from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).
- Immediately increase Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for all retirees.
The best way to help today’s workers save enough money for tomorrow is by increasing what everybody gets from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as a share of their total retirement income. Which is why we’re proposing that over the next several years we lay the foundation to double CPP benefits for the future.
We propose a doubling of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits to ensure a better minimum pension for all Canadians. This would be financed through a modest and gradual increase in contributions over seven years, following the pattern set by CPP reforms in the 1990s.
The CLC has created this pension calculator to show you how expanding the CPP would work for you. Try it now!
Old Age Security (OAS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced unexpected massive changes to Canada's pension system while in Davos, Switzerland in January 2012.
We learned exactly what those changes meant for Canadians when the federal budget was released in March. Two years more work for Canadians under age 54. That translates to $13,000 in lost pension income for them. Even worse, it means up to an additional $17,700 in lost income for the most vulnerable of people – workers in minimum wage or low wage jobs who usually have no workplace pension. That's because the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), which goes to the poorest seniors, is tied to eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS). Learn more..
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