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Retirement income system: Coast to coast consultations

Recently, questions and concerns have been raised about the adequacy of future retirement income for certain members of the Canadian population. These concerns have received particular attention in light of the global ecomonic downturn and other emerging issues, such as longer life expectancy, imminent baby boomer retirements, and declining private pension plan coverage.

Federal and provincial governments have already introduced several measures to deal with these concerns, such as allowing companies more flexibility in meeting their pension obligations, bringing new regulations into force to provide temporary solvency funding relief for defined benefit pension plans, and others.

There has even been a call by some provincial governments and pension experts—and backed by research and studies—to create a new government-sponsored, voluntary defined contribution pension plan open to all Canadians, or all residents of a province, especially to target those workers who currently do not participate in an employer-sponsored pension plan, including the self-employed.

On March 24, 2010, the federal government announced the launch of online consultations and a series of cross-country roundtable discussions, speaking engagements and town hall meetings to gather input from Canadians on Canada’s retirement income system. The purpose of the consultations is to ensure that the current system can meet the needs of future retirees and pension issues. The results of the consultations will provide valuable input at the next federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance meeting in May, where the retirement income system will be a key agenda item.

The current Canadian retirement income system consists of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement programs, Registered Pension Plans (RPPs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) / Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs).

The online consultations will be open from March 24 to April 30, 2010.

The public town hall meetings will be held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Quebec City, and Richmond, British Columbia.

Roundtable discussions with invited key stakeholders, experts and representatives from provincial and territorial governments will take place in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and London, Ontario.

Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, will speak on strengthening Canada’s retirement income system at conferences hosted by the the University of Calgary on April 12 and the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Toronto on May 4.

Individuals interested in participating in the online consultations are invited to do so through the following link to the Department of Finance website: www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/retirement-eng.asp.

Do you agree that we need to worry about the current retirement income system? Are changes needed to further strengthen Canada’s retirement income system?

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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