Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ontario Is Right to Push Ahead with Pension Reform

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ontario Is Right to Push Ahead with Pension Reform

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Ontario is right to push ahead with pension reform

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Aug. 11:

It's bad enough that the Conservative government has rebuffed every call from the provinces to bolster Canadians' retirement security by expanding the Canada Pension Plan. It's much worse that it is actively trying to torpedo attempts by Ontario to set up its own pension plan to fill the widening gap in what many need for a decent retirement.

Ottawa doesn't have to approve of Ontario's efforts to strengthen retirement security for middle-income workers. It may even find the Wynne government's plans objectionable. But to go out of its way to strangle the nascent Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) in its cradle is a calculated slap in the face to the province.

No wonder the two governments have dropped the gloves in the opening days of the federal election campaign, with Wynne openly calling for the defeat of the Conservatives. And no wonder the premier is pressing ahead by announcing more details of how she plans to phase in the ORPP, starting in January 2017.

It's far from certain that the new plan will ever see the light of day, or even be needed if the Harper Conservatives are turfed from office on Oct. 19. Both Thomas Mulcair's New Democrats and Justin Trudeau's Liberals agree with Ontario that Canadians need stronger retirement security. Both promise to expand the CPP if they win power - another good reason for voters to send the Tories packing.

Both opposition parties agree that Canada is heading for a retirement crisis. The CPP is highly respected and very good at what it does - but it doesn't do enough. It covers annual earnings up to only $53,600, with a maximum yearly payout of just $12,780. That's far from enough to secure a comfortable retirement for most people.

The obvious, common-sense solution is to expand the plan significantly, building on its low-cost structure and rock-solid reputation. That's what Ontario and most other provinces wanted to see. But when Ottawa refused to move, the Wynne government took another path - setting up its own pension scheme for workers who aren't covered by increasingly rare defined benefit plans at work. …

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