Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Want Ontario Public Sector Pensions Changed to Defined Contribution

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tories Want Ontario Public Sector Pensions Changed to Defined Contribution

Article excerpt

Reduce pensions for new public workers: Hudak

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TORONTO - Ontario's Progressive Conservatives said Monday that taxpayers can no longer afford "gold-plated pension plans" for public sector workers, but the Liberal government called the Opposition's proposals an American-style attack on the middle class.

"We have to address the dramatic unfairness in the system where you have gold-plated pensions for some and no pensions for others," said Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.

Ontario faces a $100-billion funding liability for about 90 public sector pension plans that will only get worse if the rules aren't changed, added Hudak.

"We have people who are barely scraping by, have nowhere near the pensions that government workers do, and they're being asked over and over again to pay more taxes -- or see fewer public services -- to bail out pensions," he said.

"The world has changed dramatically in the last number of decades and our pension system has not caught up with it."

Hudak wants the province to phase in a higher minimum retirement age for public workers and give new nurses, teachers and other civil servants a defined contribution pension instead of the defined benefit plans that 94 per cent of them currently have.

The Canadian Auto Workers agreed to a two-tier pension system for new hires at the Big Three automakers, and it's time the government took similar action, he added.

"All new government employees under our plan would only be offered pension plans based on what they put in -- defined contribution plans -- not what some politician or public sector employer promises when they know that they can't pay for it," said Hudak.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan called Hudak's proposals "simple, Mitt Romney, right-wing bromides" taken from the Tea Party wing of the Republicans that he said do not address the real issue of unfunded pension liabilities. …

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