June 17, 2009
CARP congratulates the House of Commons for showing bold leadership in its unanimous all party support for increases to OAS GIS CPP and pension reform to provide better retirement security
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2009
TORONTO, ON: CARP members will be very encouraged by the unanimous all-party vote of their MPs supporting the Motion for immediate government action to increase OAS, GIS, CPP as well as to address the retirement security of Canadians. The more than 6,000 emails sent by CARP members to their MPs must have contributed to this 294-0 vote in an historic show of all party support for retirees and other older Canadians.
The Opposition Motion was introduced and debated on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 and was voted on today.
This will set a priority in the parliamentary agenda on increasing Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplements and Canada Pension Plan benefits and giving precedence to pension benefits in the event of a bankruptcy. These proposals will help address the immediate concerns of retirees.
CARP issued an open letter to all MPs on Friday and called on CARP members to send emails to their own MPs and the Minister of Finance to voice their concerns and support for pension reform that will help people better provide for their own retirement.
The call out may be found at: Read more
More than 6,000 members responded and MPs across the country have heard directly from CARP members in force over last three days. The Finance Minister alone got over 500 emails from CARP members and he also voted for the Motion.
“Retirees ravaged by this economic downturn cannot wait for more studies. This tremendous and immediate response from our members shows how important this issue is for them. Government needs to act immediately to give them help now by increasing OAS, GIS and CPP and better protecting the interests of those with pension plans. It is also time to act for those without pensions”, said Susan Eng Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.
There has been growing recognition that Canadians are not saving enough for their own retirement and that even those with workplace pensions are at risk in the current economic climate. CARP has called for a Universal Pension Plan modeled on the CPP for the estimated one in three Canadians who retire without any retirement savings.
Three provincial pension review panels [BC-Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario] identified the need to provide broader access to larger well-managed pension funds for working Canadians who do not have access to workplace sponsored plans.
Despite several provincial Finance Ministers calling for a Pension Summit at their May 25, 2009 meeting, the issue of pension reform was relegated to a research working group which is due to report at the end of the year. With the MPs endorsing the call on the federal government to work with the provinces, there is now added pressure to keeping the responsibility to address the retirement insecurity facing Canadians with the elected ministers and not with yet another expert panel although the Motion was also referred to the research working group.
“All Canadians will benefit if the federal and provincial governments immediately start constructing a Universal Pension plan - a universally accessible and affordable retirement savings vehicle that is robust enough to withstand demographic and economic challenges like those we are now witnessing. The first step is to convene a Pension Summit at which representatives of retirees have a material role. Is there any doubt now that older Canadians want to have their voices heard?”, added Eng.
CARP is not alone in calling for immediate action and for a Pension Summit.
“Canada’s actuaries have been calling for governments to put pensions on the country’s agenda by holding a National Pension Reform Summit. At this Summit the Ministers responsible for the pension file could discuss critical common issues such as the decline in coverage of pension plans, and develop a road map and timetable for much-needed harmonized legislative and regulatory reforms”, said Mike Hale, President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires.
CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.
Vice President Advocacy
CARP, A New Vision of Aging for Canada
or visit our website: www.carp.ca