The primary objective of CARP's campaign in conjunction with the Ontario
Coalition of Independent Locked-In Fund Holders is to prompt the government elected
on October 10th to unlock LIFs by 100 per cent in Ontario as was done in Saskatchewan
Our proposal is to allow LIF holders to unlock 50per cent at age 55 and the
balance (or total) at 65.
Locked-In Funds are the best kept pension secret in Canada - and the most misunderstood.
Therefore, the second purpose in our campaign is to make the estimated over
450,000 Ontario LIF-holders, the general public and the media aware of what
a LIF is, how it works and the obstacles that currently await Ontario LIF-holders
when they want to access their pension money.
A precedent for unlocking LIFs 100 per cent was set in Ontario in 1999 when
Bill 27 enabled 61 Ontario MPPs to unlock their Legislative pension by 100 per
cent. Some of these 61 MPPs are running in the current campaign, including,
according to CARP's research, Mr. McGuinty, Mr. Sorbara, Mr. Bradley,
Mr. Hampton and Mr. Runciman; the latter two have admitted publicly that they
were among the recipients of this privilege. While Mr. McGuinty has indicated
that he voted against Bill 27, he has never publicly admitted that he is one
of the recipients of its largess.
We do not begrudge any of these 61 MPPs the right to unlock their LIFs by 100
per cent. But we do greatly begrudge them denying that right to all other Ontarians.
For while they gave themselves carte blanche, they set up a paternalistic, bureaucratic
process for all other Ontarians LIF or LRIF holders to access the capital in
their own pensions—and only on the grounds of financial or health hardship.
CARP estimates that between 2003 and 2006 the Ontario Government earned from
$5.2 million to as high as $15.8 million in processing fees for allowing applicants
to have access to their own money!
As a non-partisan association, CARP doesn't recommend which party or
person to vote for – our focus is on issues, not parties or personalities.
However, at this point in the election campaign the Conservatives have promised
to unlock them 100 per cent.
The NDP introduced a Private Members Bill in December, 2006 to unlock them
100 per cent -- although the Party has not followed up by including that proposal
in their platform.
The Liberals' new policy to unlock LIFs by 25 per cent will take effect
in January 2008.
If the Liberals are re-elected, we urge them to do the democratic thing and
unlock LIFs by 100 per cent. CARP regards their new policy as a first step in
the journey to unlock LIFs for all Ontarians, not only a select few politicians
– sooner rather than later.
If the Conservatives win the election, they must live up to their commitment
to unlock LIFs by 100 per cent within 100 days of forming the government.
And, if the NDP are elected, we trust that they will implement the Private
Member's Bill introduced last December within 100 days of coming to power.
CARP is Canada's Association For the Fifty-Plus. A non-profit, non-partisan
association, CARP has 250,000 members in Ontario and 400,000 members across
the country. Its mandate is to promote and protect the rights and quality of
life of older Canadians. Its mission is to provide practical recommendations
for the issues it raises.
For more information/interviews, contact Michelle Taylor at 416-363-8748 ext.
236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org