Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Says No CPP Deal If She Hadn't Been 'Thorn in the Side' of Other Premiers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wynne Says No CPP Deal If She Hadn't Been 'Thorn in the Side' of Other Premiers

Article excerpt

Wynne credits Ontario for national CPP deal


TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took credit Tuesday for the agreement reached by the country's finance ministers to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.

It was Ontario's constant demand to ensure people have an adequate retirement income and its decision to pass legislation creating a provincial pension plan that prevented the issue from languishing on the back burner, Wynne said.

"Quite frankly, I was a thorn in the side of many of my colleagues," she said.

"I kept bringing this up. I kept making it clear that we were moving ahead, and I kept making it clear that we all knew that there was a national problem."

Ontario decided to create its own pension plan only after the previous federal Conservative government refused to consider anything that would increase premiums paid by employers, but always considered an enhanced CPP its preferred option, added Wynne.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his provincial colleagues -- except Quebec and Manitoba -- reached an agreement Monday to increase the maximum CPP benefit to about $17,478 a year from $13,000.

Employers will pay increased CPP premiums of about $408 a year for each employee, who will pay matching amounts, and they will be phased in over seven years, starting in 2019.

The smaller premium increase that would have been required under the ORPP should ease the concerns of some small businesses, said Wynne, who called the CPP a "wise investment" for companies and individuals.

"If we as a society determine that it is not worth an investment in people's retirement, then we will pay for that down the road," she warned.

"This is about making sure that in 10, 20 or 30 years we don't have an impoverished group of people who worked all their lives but are not able to support themselves."

Benefits under the enhanced CPP would be about two-thirds of what Ontario workers would have received under the ORPP, while the payroll deductions and employer premiums will start one year later, in 2019.

The province made those compromises in order to secure the CPP deal, Wynne said.

"Had we not continued to work to implement the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, had we not continued to put this issue on the table squarely with our colleagues across the country, I firmly believe that we would not be here today," she said. …

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