Canadian Social Research Links

Retirement Pension Reforms
(Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan)

Sites de recherche sociale au Canada

La réforme des pensions de retraite
(Sécurité de la vieillesse, Régime de pensions du Canada)

- Jump directly to links to U.S. Social Security Reform
and the Chilean Pension Model
(lower down on this page)

Updated March 19, 2017
Page révisée le 19 mars 2017


[ Go to Canadian Social Research Links Home Page ]


NOTE: this page covers pension reforms only.

For links to specific information about
Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs)
,
go to http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/prpp.htm
---
For program information concerning Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan, go directly to Retirement Pensions and Benefits on the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

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Chief Investment Officer (CIO)
http://www.ai-cio.com/

From "About CIO":
CIO’s website provides the latest news, opinion, and research focusing on the overarching investment issues affecting public and corporate pension plans, endowments, foundations, healthcare capital pools, and sovereign wealth funds.

Chief Actuary Confirms Canada Pension Plan Is Solid and Sustainable Over the Long Term
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-142-eng.asp
October 28, 2016
Middle class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried that they won’t have enough put away for their retirement.(...) Today, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau tabled the Chief Actuary’s 28th Actuarial Report on the CPP in Parliament. The report confirms that the contribution and benefit levels proposed under the CPP enhancement agreed upon by Canada’s governments on June 20, 2016 will be sustainable over the long term, ensuring that Canadian workers can count on an even stronger, secure CPP for years to come.

Source:
Department of Finance Canada
[ http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp ]

28th Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan
Supplementing the Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan (PDF - 1MB, 47 pages)
http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/Docs/cpp28.pdf
As at 31 December 2015
Submitted 26 October 2016

27th Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan (PDF - 140 pages)
http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/eng/docs/cpp27.pdf
Prepared as at 31 December 2015

Source:
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
[ http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/ ]

Associated Links:

Government Introduces Legislation for a Stronger
Canada Pension Plan and a More Secure Retirement for Canadians

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-122-eng.asp
October 6, 2016

Canadians Can Count on a Stronger,
Financially Sustainable Canada Pension Plan

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-115-eng.asp

Source:
Department of Finance Canada
[ http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp ]

October 27, 2016
Ten things to know about the CPP debate
http://behindthenumbers.ca/2016/10/27/ten-things-know-cpp-debate/
By Allan Moscovitch, Richard Lochead and Nick Falvo
This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a recent proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).[1] Indeed, since the 2008-2009 world financial crisis, Canada has witnessed a renewed public debate on the CPP. Two factors have prompted this. First, as a result of the crisis, employer-sponsored pension plans lost substantial value. Second, partly in response to this loss in value, many employers either reduced their pension coverage or stopped offering them to workers altogether.
With all of the above in mind, here are 10 things to know about the CPP:
1. The CPP is a mandatory social insurance program, compulsory for all Canadian workers.
2. Politically, one can usually predict which groups will oppose, and which will favour, CPP expansion.
3. The CPP was established in 1965 and implemented in 1966.
4. The introduction of the CPP required a constitutional amendment in July of 1964.
5. One advantage of a publicly-administered pension plan is that administrative fees are lower.
6. By the 1990s, a serious concern emerged: not enough money had been contributed to cover the liability that the fund was incurring (largely due to an aging population).
7. CPP tends to advantage workers with strong labour market attachment; put differently, it’s not redistributive.
8. Self-employed individuals pay ‘double premiums’—that is, they must pay both the employer and worker contributions.
9. Today, CPP covers a smaller percentage of retiree income than similar schemes in most other OECD countries.
10. One pension expert has proposed that CPP be sufficiently expanded to the point where the need for private plans could be virtually eliminated.

Source:
Behind the Numbers
(Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives blog)
http://behindthenumbers.ca/

Andrew Coyne: CPP expansion is a risky business:
http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/andrew-coyne-expansion-of-the-cpp-is-risky-business

Death of private pensions puts more pressure on Canada Pension Plan
https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2016/09/27/death-of-private-pensions-puts-more-pressure-on-cpp-cohn.html
September 27, 2016

Editorial: Changes ahead for pensions plans
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/editorials/changes-ahead-for-pension-plans-394907991.html

Small and medium-size businesses say CPP increases are “not modest”
http://www.metronews.ca/life/money/2016/10/11/smes-say-cpp-increases-not-modest.html

Quebec is still holding out on pension reform
http://montrealgazette.com/business/quebec-is-still-holding-out-on-pension-reform?__lsa=b548-21cf

Advocates demand better protection for Ontario workers
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/10/07/advocates-demand-better-protection-for-ontario-workers.html

Small and medium-size businesses say CPP increases are “not modest”:
http://www.metronews.ca/life/money/2016/10/11/smes-say-cpp-increases-not-modest.html

Parliamentarians Advance Debate on a Stronger
Canada Pension Plan and a More Secure Retirement for Canadians
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-137-eng.asp
October 21, 2016

Middle class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried that they won’t have enough put away for their retirement. One in four families approaching retirement—1.1 million families—are at risk of not saving enough. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians achieve their goal of a safe, secure and dignified retirement, and has worked with the provinces and territories to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). With today’s debate on second reading of Bill C-26, Parliamentarians have the opportunity to advance the implementation of the agreement that Canada’s governments came to on June 20, 2016 to enhance the CPP to give Canadians a more generous public pension that will help them retire in dignity.

Source:
Department of Finance Canada

http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp

---

Associated Links:

2016-10-06
Government Introduces Legislation for a Stronger Canada Pension Plan and a More Secure Retirement for Canadians
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-122-eng.asp

2016-10-04
Government of Canada Welcomes British Columbia’s Support for a Stronger Canada Pension Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-119-eng.asp

2016-09-27
Canadians Can Count on a Stronger, Financially Sustainable Canada Pension Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-115-eng.asp

2016-09-19
Strengthened Canada Pension Plan Will Mean a More Secure Retirement and a Better Quality of Life for Middle Class Canadians
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-113-eng.asp

2016-07-15
Statement by the Minister of Finance on Historic Agreement to Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-089-eng.asp

2016-07-07
Manitoba Agrees to Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Retirement Security of Canadians
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-088-eng.asp

2016-06-20
Canada’s Finance Ministers Agree to Strengthen Canada Pension Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-081-eng.asp

Government Introduces Legislation for a Stronger Canada Pension Plan and a More Secure Retirement for Canadians
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-122-eng.asp
October 6, 2016
NOTE : This news release contains links to over a dozen links to related content - recommmended reading!

Middle class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried that they won’t have enough put away for their retirement. One in four families approaching retirement—1.1 million families—are at risk of not saving enough. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians achieve their goal of a safe, secure and dignified retirement, and has worked with the provinces and territories to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Canada’s governments agreed on June 20, 2016 to enhance the CPP to give Canadians a more generous public pension that will help them retire in dignity. All nine CPP participating provinces have now confirmed their support for the agreement concluded on June 20, 2016 in Vancouver.

Source:
Department of Finance Canada
http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp

Related links:

CPP benefits hike will take 40 years to be fully implemented:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cpp-hike-morneau-committee-1.3769025

CPP changes will hurt economy in short term: Officials
http://globalnews.ca/news/2948875/canada-pension-plan-changes-will-hurt-economy-in-short-term-officials/

CPP expansion will increase earnings cap by 14%
http://www.reuters.com/article/canada-pensions-idUSL2N1BV0VQ

Government of Canada Backgrounder: CPP Enhancement
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/data/16-113_3-eng.asp

Government of Canada Backgrounder: Long-Term Benefits of Canada Pension Plan Enhancements
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1126679&tp=930

Quebec pension fund ups the stakes in infrastructure “test case”
https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/quebec-pension-fund-ups-stakes-infrastructure-test-case-052024529–sector.html

CPP expansion set back as BC refuses to ratify
http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6770171-pension-date-reform-set-back/
July 15, 2016

BC to conduct public consultations on CPP expansion
http://insurance-journal.ca/article/bc-holding-off-on-cpp-expansion/
New report gives CPP expansion the thumbs up: http://www.stockhouse.com/news/press-releases/2016/07/15/new-report-gives-the-canada-pension-plan-cpp-expansion-a-thumbs

CPP expansion causing pension re-evaluation across the country
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/cnw/release.html?rkey=20160719C2984&filter=5599

Statement by the Minister of Finance on Historic Agreement to Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-089-eng.asp
July 15, 2016

Version française:
Déclaration du ministre des Finances au sujet de l'accord historique visant à renforcer le Régime de pensions du Canada

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-089-fra.asp

Since June 20 in Vancouver, nine provincial Finance Ministers have signed on to an historic agreement in principle that will ensure future generations of Canadians can retire more comfortably. Since the Vancouver meeting all signatories have been working in good faith to confirm the approval of their respective Governments by July 15, a date chosen by consensus so that the work of implementing the enhancements could begin without delay.

While all other signatories will meet this target, the Province of British Columbia has indicated that it needs more time to do so. The process remains on track for the Government to table federal legislation in the fall, as planned.

Canada Pension Plan: The New Deal
By Michael Mendelson, Sherri Torjman and Ken Battle
June 2016

Abstract:
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/Detail/?ID=1100
July 1 and all things Canadian typically are celebrated through this country’s unique music and culture. But we rarely reflect upon the important role in our lives of major social programs. This year especially, the Canada Pension Plan should be recognized as a significant national achievement. It was no mean feat to craft a complex political agreement that has translated into one of the most sophisticated and financially successful pension programs in the world. 2016 marks the 50th year of the introduction of this landmark achievement. But we should celebrate not only the special birthday of this vital program. This Canada Day, we also need to recognize the new political agreement to renew and revitalize the Canada Pension Plan for future generations.

Complete report (66.8MB , 9 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/1100ENG.pdf
Table of contents:
Canada's retirement income system
The coverage Problem
Proposed improvements to the CPP
Gradual implementation
Low-wage earners
Conclusion
References
(...)
The CPP agreement is a welcome announcement and a significant advance in Canadian social policy. It bolsters one of Canada’s most important
social programs. It will also boost the Working Income Tax Benefit, though the extent and design of the increase are unknown at this time.

Source:
Caledon Institute of Social Policy
http://www.caledoninst.org/

Statement by Minister of Finance and Associate Minister of Finance on Ontario Approving the Agreement on CPP Enhancement
https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2016/06/statement-by-minister-of-finance-and-associate-minister-of-finance-on-ontario-approving-the-agreemen.html
June 29, 2016
Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, and Indira Naidoo-Harris, Associate Minister of Finance, have confirmed Ontario's approval of the agreement in principle to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Five things to know about CPP expansion plans:
https://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/retirement/2016/06/01/as-ministers-meet-5-things-to-know-about-the-cpp-mayers.html
June 1, 2016

Editorial: Ministers have another chance to fix pension system
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2016/05/30/ministers-have-another-chance-to-fix-pension-system-editorial.html
June 1, 2016

Canada Pension Plan Expansion:
CPP and the Middle Class
(CBC video, duration 4:55)
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/video/cpp-expansion-001341205.html
June 1, 2016
Amid calls for CPP reform, some argue that the middle class should pay more for better benefits.

Source:
CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news

Opposing CPP expansion is bad advice for Canadian workers
http://windsorstar.com/opinion/letters/opposing-cpp-expansion-bad-advice-for-canadian-workers
May 21, 2016

Canadian unions launch new CPP campaign “A Better Plan for All”
http://canadianlabour.ca/news/news-archive/canadian-unions-launch-new-cpp-campaign-%E2%80%9C-better-plan-all%E2%80%9D
May 20, 2016

A Better Canada Pension Plan for All
https://www.abetterplanforall.ca/
A better Canada Pension Plan is possible
After a lifetime of hard work, no one should have to struggle just to make ends meet.

Ontario

Premier Releases Details of Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
Province Moving to Close the Gap in Retirement Savings

http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2015/08/premier-releases-details-of-ontario-retirement-pension-plan.html
News Release
August 11, 2015
Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced key details in the design of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). The ORPP would help close the retirement savings gap for the two out of three Ontarians who do not have a secure workplace pension plan.

Related link:

Backgrounder : The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
Comparability, Phase-in and Benefits

http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2015/08/the-ontario-retirement-pension-plan.html
August 11, 2015

Source:
Ontario Government News Service

http://news.ontario.ca/archive/en

Also from the
Government of Ontario:

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
http://www.ontario.ca/government/ontario-retirement-pension-plan

Two studies, two different takes on Ontario’s
new pension plan as province plans to announce details
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/ontario-pension-plan-draws-more-mixed-reviews-as-premier-readies-to-release-more-details
By Ashley Csanady
August 11, 2015
The province was to announce Tuesday some long-awaited details about the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), which will likely include more information as to who will be exempted and how the program will be phased in. The news lands the same day as the Fraser Institute and the Mowat Centre release competing papers on retirement security.

----------------------------------------------------------

New from
The Fraser Institute:

[
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/ ]

Lessons for Ontario and Canada from Forced
Retirement Saving Mandates in Australia
(PDF - 675K, 16 pages)
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/lessons-for-ontario-and-canada-from-forced-retirement-saving-mandates-in-australia.pdf

However, see : Fraser Institute report misses the mark on retirement security, by Hugh Mackenzie
of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
http://behindthenumbers.ca/2015/07/30/fraser-institute-report-misses-the-mark-on-retirement-security-2/

----------------------------------------------------------

New from
The Mowat Centre:
[
http://mowatcentre.ca ]

Lower Risk, Higher Reward: Renewing Canada’s Retirement Income System (PDF - 1MB, 43 pages)
http://social-architecture.ca/wp-content/uploads/LowerRiskHigherReward.pdf

News Release
http://mowatcentre.ca/lower-risk-higher-reward-canadas-retirement-income-system/
August 11, 2015
By Tyler Meredith
Historically, Canada’s retirement income system (RIS) has done a fairly good job of ensuring that seniors have sufficient sources of savings and income in order to avoid poverty and enjoy a standard of living comparable to that during their working lives

.Related link from CCPA-Ontario:

What, Me Worry?
Income Risks for Retiring Canadians
(PDF - 1.0 MB. 26 pages)
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Ontario%20Office/2015/07/What_Me_Worry.pdf
By Michael Wolfson
July 14, 2015

Two recent and widely quoted studies by McKinsey&Company and the C.D. Howe Institute (see links below) strongly suggest that no major policy changes are needed to better ensure Canadians have adequate retirement income in future. But are they right? Not according to Michael Wolfson, a Canada Research Chair and former assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada.

His CCPA-Ontario report, What, Me Worry? Income Risks for Retiring Canadians, is a must-read for policy makers and for all Canadians attempting to understand the vital role public policy should play in securing Canadians' retirement future. It also includes a sharp critique of Statistics Canada's decision to stop funding the LifePaths database that is ideal for predicting pension needs in future. Click here to read the Globe and Mail story about it.

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/

Other related links:

* McKinsey&Company. “Building on Canada’s Strong Retirement Readiness”.
Retirement Income Practice
February 2015
http://www.mckinsey.com/search.aspx?q=canada+pension+plan .

* Malcolm Hamilton. “Do Canadians Save Too Little?”
C.D. Howe Institute, Commentary No. 428
June 2015
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_428.pdf

* Projecting the Adequacy of Canadians’ Retirement Incomes:
Current Prospects and Possible Reform Options”.

By Michael Wolfson
IRPP no. 17.
April 2011
http://irpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Wolfson-No17.pdf/

Related (earlier) media coverage:

Ottawa slammed for refusing to help run Ontario pension plan:
Finance minister says many Ontario workers will need help in retirement, noting that Stephen Harper’s ‘gold-plated pension plan’ is secure.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/07/30/charles-sousa-slams-ottawa-for-refusing-to-help-run-ontario-pension-plan.html
By Rob Ferguson
July 30, 2015

Fraser Institute says the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan will “reduce choice and bring little benefit”
http://www.thesudburystar.com/2015/07/28/column-ontario-pension-plan-will-reduce-choice-and-bring-little-benefit
July 30, 2015

CCPA-Ontario: Fraser Institute report misses the mark on retirement security
http://behindthenumbers.ca/2015/07/30/fraser-institute-report-misses-the-mark-on-retirement-security-2/
July 30, 2015

From the
Ontario Ministry of Finance:

[ http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/ ]

Strengthening Province's Retirement System
New Legislation Would Help Ontarians Save for Retirement

http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2014/12/strengthening-provinces-retirement-system.html
News Release
December 8, 2014
The province is taking an important step to strengthen its retirement income system and ensure Ontarians are better able to enjoy their retirement years, with the introduction of legislation that would, if passed, help people save for retirement.
This afternoon, the province will introduce the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014: http://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2014/12/ontario-retirement-pension-plan-act-2014.html
The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014 would, if passed, lay out a framework for the creation of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) and commit the government to establishing the plan by January 1, 2017, helping to address the undersavings problem.

-------------------------------------

From
Huffington Post Canada
:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

Ontario Retirement Savings Plan: Liberals Introduce Bill To Create Provincial Pension Plan
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/08/ontario-retirement-savings-plan-liberals-wynne_n_6288596.html
By Keith Leslie
December 8, 2014
TORONTO - Ontario's Liberal government introduced legislation Monday to create a mandatory provincial pension plan, which the Opposition and business groups slammed as a job-killing payroll tax. The bill clears the way for the introduction on Jan. 1, 2017, of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, which will be mandatory for workers who do not already have a company pension plan, said Finance Minister Charles Sousa.
(...)
The bill would require employers and employees to each contribute 1.9 per cent of a worker's salary to the ORPP, up to $1,643 a year, which the Ontario Chamber of Commerce warned will result in fewer jobs.

Fraser Institute misleads on costs of Canada Pension Plan
https://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/blog/fraser-institute-misleads-costs-canada-pension-plan
September 3, 2014
By Andrew Jackson
The Fraser Institute has released a new report [see link below] purporting to show that the real cost of operating the Canada Pension Plan is $2 billion per year, or four times as much as shown in the financial statements of the CPP Investment Board. The study confuses the cost of operating the Canada Pension Plan, and the operating expenses of the CPP Investment Fund. The latter are just $490 million or 0.28% of assets. These operating costs are much lower than those of most other large private pension plans, let alone the 2 to 3% management fees paid by most ordinary individual investors in mutual funds.
(...)
The Fraser Institute implies, without any real evidence, that CPP Investment Fund costs are a bad deal for Canadians. Yet returns are clearly much higher than the individual retirement savings vehicles that the Institute favours.

---

From the
Fraser Institute:

Accounting for the True Cost of the Canada Pension Plan (PDF - 524K, 10 pages)
http://goo.gl/fX7LFo
By Philip Cross and Joel Emes
September 2014

Source:
Fraser Institute

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/

Seven reasons why disabled Canadians are losing CPP benefits
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/seven-reasons-why-disabled-canadians-are-losing-cpp-benefits/article19630200/
By Michael Prince
July 16, 2014
There are serious problems at the Social Security Tribunal and the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program, especially for people trying to appeal decisions on their ineligibility for this disability pension benefit.
(...)
The seven problems are as follows:
* First, about 60 per cent of initial applications for CPP disability benefits are refused.
* Second, the rate of successful appeals against initial rulings on CPP disability benefits has been declining over the last decade, to just 43 per cent in 2013-14.
* Third, there is a “backlog” of more than 7,000 appeals on denials of CPP disability benefits to be heard by the Social Security Tribunal, a body established in 2013 to streamline the previous system.
* Fourth, working Canadians with disabilities who apply for CPP benefits have lost certain legal rights and had other rights confined.
* Fifth, in the Social Security Tribunal system, every application to the Tribunal is heard before a single member, whereas under the previous system every application for an appeal was heard by a three member panel which usually contained a medical specialist and a lawyer along with a lay person.
* Sixth, under the previous system new evidence could be introduced by a claimant at the second level of appeal, while under the Social Security Tribunal no new evidence or testimony can be presented before the Tribunal’s Appeal Division, following a decision by the Tribunal’s General Division.
* Seventh, the federal government’s stated aim is to move to more electronic technologies for handling CPP disability cases, but nothing in the legislation or the regulations for the Social Security Tribunal requires that teleconferences or videoconferences be accessible to people with a range of impairments or health conditions.

The consequences of these seven problems are extremely distressing: diminished rights of working Canadians with disabilities; compromised rules of natural justice; lost expertise in decision making and an under-resourced Tribunal.

41 comments about this article
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/seven-reasons-why-disabled-canadians-are-losing-cpp-benefits/article19630200/comments/

[ Michael J. Prince is the Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria, and has written extensively on disability policy. ]

Source:
The Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Target-Benefit Pension Plans

Pensions Network Canada
http://unionsyndicate.ca/pensions
The Pensions Network is a project of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to help inform pension activists, members and the community of ongoing changes and challenges to retirement security.
The latest attack on retirement security for workers is employer moves to replace Defined Benefit with Target-Benefit Plans. Target Benefit Plans are being promoted as "Shared Risk" Plans by employer groups. In reality, there is no sharing of risk, all of the risk is taken on by the employee.

Backgrounder on Target-Benefit Pension Plans
http://unionsyndicate.ca/pensions/pensions-information/pensions/backgrounder-on-target-benefit-pension-plans
- includes "Top Ten Reasons Allowing Employers to Change Defined-Benefit Pension Plans into Target-Benefit Plans is Wrong"

---

CUPE Submission - Federal Target Benefit Consultation
http://unionsyndicate.ca/pensions/cupe-submission-federal-target-benefit-consultation
Submission by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to the Department of Finance Canada’s Consultation Paper entitled “Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan”
Submitted June 23, 2014

---

From the Canadian Labour Congress:
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/

Pensions & Retirement
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/issues/pensions-retirement

---

From Finance Canada:
[ http://www.fin.gc.ca/ ]

Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n14/14-061-eng.asp
News Release
April 24, 2014
Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework

---

Consultation Paper - Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/pic-impicc-eng.asp
The objective of this paper is to seek views on the approach and elements of a federal TBP framework. DC and DB plan sponsors, unions, the actuarial and legal professions, and retiree groups are invited to provide comments on these proposals.
(The consultation period ended June 23.)

Consultation Paper - Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/pic-impicc-eng.asp
The objective of this paper is to seek views on the approach and elements of a federal TBP framework. DC and DB plan sponsors, unions, the actuarial and legal professions, and retiree groups are invited to provide comments on these proposals.
(closed June 23)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The CLC Calls on the Federal Government to Move Forward, Not Backward, on Retirement Security
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/national/news/clc-calls-federal-government-move-forward-not-backward-retirement-security
2 July 2014
OTTAWA --- Hassan Yussuff, the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, says that the labour movement in Canada has clearly and forcefully told the federal government that it has no business encouraging employers to tear up past pension promises and cut seniors' pensions.
(...)
Yussuff was commenting on the federal government's consultation on a framework for converting defined-benefit pensions to target-benefit plans in the federal private sector and for Crown corporations. The proposed framework would involve workers paying more for reduced and less secure benefits. It would also allow once-secure pension benefits, earned for past service, to be reduced if the plan suffers a shortfall. On Wednesday, the Department of Finance hastily declared the end to consultations on the initiative.

Source:
Canadian Labour Congress
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils.

Related Issues:

Pensions & Retirement
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/issues/pensions-retirement

Related links:

Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n14/14-061-eng.asp
News Release
April 24, 2014
Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework

---

Consultation Paper - Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/pic-impicc-eng.asp
The objective of this paper is to seek views on the approach and elements of a federal TBP framework. DC and DB plan sponsors, unions, the actuarial and legal professions, and retiree groups are invited to provide comments on these proposals.
(The consultation period ended June 23.)

David Dodge calls for expansion of the CPP:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/expanded-cpp-essential-to-boost-inadequate-retirement-savings-report-finds/article18130135/

Ottawa unveils its proposal for a new pension plan: http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/retirement/2014/04/24/ottawa_unveils_proposal_for_new_pension_plans.html

More coverage:
http://www.caledonenterprise.com/news-story/4483644-ottawa-proposes-shared-risk-pension-plans/

Actuaries like it:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1874831

So does the CFIB:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1872464
Is there a future for a defined benefit plan? http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/retirement/2014/04/25/will_the_defined_benefit_plan_disappear.html

Source of the above media items:
Compiled by
Jennefer Laidley
Policy & Research Analyst
Income Security Advocacy Centre
http://www.incomesecurity.org/

From
Finance Canada:

Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n14/14-061-eng.asp
News Release
April 24, 2014
Harper Government Begins Consultations on a Potential Target Benefit Pension Plan Framework

---

Consultation Paper - Pension Innovation for Canadians: The Target Benefit Plan
http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/pic-impicc-eng.asp
The objective of this paper is to seek views on the approach and elements of a federal TBP framework. DC and DB plan sponsors, unions, the actuarial and legal professions, and retiree groups are invited to provide comments on these proposals.
(...)
Written comments should be sent by June 23 via email to: pensions@fin.gc.ca.

---

Frequently Asked Questions on Proposed Target Benefit Plan (TBP) Framework
http://www.fin.gc.ca/afc/faq/tbp-rpc-eng.asp

Source:
Finance Canada
http://www.fin.gc.ca/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the
Toronto Star:

Ottawa unveils proposal for new Target Benefit Plans
http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/04/24/ottawa_unveils_proposal_for_new_pension_plans.html
April 24, 2014
By Madhavi Acharya
The federal government is adding more letters to the alphabet soup that spells out how Canadians save for retirement. Ottawa unveiled its proposal for the TBP, or Target Benefit Plan, on Thursday. The new voluntary plan would be open to those who work for Crown corporations or federally regulated businesses such as banks, railways, and airlines. TBPs would offer a minimum level of guaranteed benefits with an option to add on and contributions that are set within a specified range. Both could be adjusted over time based on market conditions and the plan’s performance.

---

Ottawa to propose risk-sharing pension scheme
http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/investing/2014/04/23/ottawa_to_propose_risksharing_pension_scheme.html
April 25, 2014
Minister of state for finance Kevin Sorenson is expected to announce a new risk-sharing pension proposal for federally regulated companies.

---

Canada Pension Plan needs shoring up now: Cohn
http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/12/14/canada_pension_plan_needs_shoring_up_now_cohn.html
April 25, 2014
Life is good. Until it isn’t, in retirement.

---

Canadians heading for a retirement income crisis
http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/04/11/a_pensioncrisis_primer.html
April 25, 2014
With too many Canadians heading into retirement without enough savings, the debate now centres on what needs to be done to fix this looming problem.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

From the
Fraser Institute:

Each Canadian taxpayer owes $243,476 as total government liabilities reach $4.1 trillion
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/news/display.aspx?id=21020
News Release
April 1, 2014
VANCOUVER, B.C.—Government liabilities include much more than direct debt, and when all federal, provincial, and local government liabilities are combined, each Canadian taxpayer owes $243,476, notes a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study:

Canadian Government Debt 2014:
A Guide to the Indebtedness of Canada and the Provinces (3.3MB, 61 pages)
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/canadian-government-debt-2014.pdf
By Milagros Palacios, Hugh MacIntyre, and Charles Lammam
April 2014

Source:
Fraser Institute
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/
"Our vision is a free and prosperous world where individuals benefit from greater choice, competitive markets, and personal responsibility."

-------------------------------

Later that same day,
from PressProgress:

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to Fraser Institute: you're wrong about public pension
http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/cpp-investment-board-fraser-institute-youre-wrong-about-public-pension
April 1, 2014
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board isn't mincing words. The crown corporation established in 1997 to invest the funds of the CPP says the Fraser Institute is just plain wrong about the health of the nationally administered pension plan. Or, more specifically, shows a "fundamental lack of understanding regarding the CPP."

The right-wing think tank based in Vancouver recently released a report, claiming that if you add up all the liabilities of every Canadian government — federal, provincial, and local — every taxpayer would owe $243,476 (of the $4.1 trillion total) in direct debt and unfunded liabilities.

The Fraser Institute's report cites an unfunded liability existing at the CPP of $792.3 billion, and goes on to suggest future generations of Canadian taxpayers will feel either have to pay higher taxes or receive lower benefits.

Not so fast, says the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board...

Source:
PressProgress
http://www.pressprogress.ca/
Advancing progressive solutions for Canada with hard-hitting news and analysis, PressProgress cuts through the day's political spin with facts and an informed point of view. From punchy blog posts to a daily web roundup to spread news and views, PressProgress is a must-read to spur positive change.

PressProgress is a project of the
Broadbent Institute:

[ http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/ ].

---

Related link:

CPP Investment Board
http://www.cppib.com/en/home.html
Our mandate is to invest in the best interests of Canada Pension Plan contributors and beneficiaries and to maximize investment returns without undue risk of loss.

---

Bonus mystery link:
http://goo.gl/urE7cV
The Fraser Institute produces junk.
Crap.
Who knew?

Strengthening the Canada Pension Plan: Take it to the public (PDF - 64K, 11 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/1026ENG.pdf
By Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson
November 2013
(...)
On November 1, 2013, provincial/territorial finance ministers met and agreed on four conditions for reforming the Canada Pension Plan.

Increased benefits:
• must be fully funded
• have a limited economic impact on businesses, which have to pay higher contributions
• improve benefits for the middle class
• protect low-income earners.
The finance ministers hope to advance matters when they meet with the federal finance minister in December.
But prospects for immediate action look dim...

[ NOTE : The appendix to this paper gives a brief description of Canada’s three-tier retirement income system. ]

Source:
Caledon Institute of Social Policy

http://www.caledoninst.org/
Established in 1992, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy is a private, nonprofit organization with charitable status. It is supported primarily by the Maytree Foundation, located in Toronto. Caledon is an independent and critical voice that does not depend on government funding and is not affiliated with any political party.

Proposed changes to Canada Pension Plan spur momentum for pension reform
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/peis-pension-reform-plan-gains-steam-ahead-of-flaherty-meeting/article14672859/
By Bill Curry
October 3, 2013
A proposal to boost the retirement benefits for the middle class from the Canada Pension Plan through increases in contributions is rekindling momentum for pension reform ahead of a key December meeting with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Prince Edward Island Finance Minister Wes Sheridan is trying to rally his colleagues around changes that would see the maximum CPP contribution rise to $4,681.20 a year from $2,356.20 starting in 2016, and the maximum annual benefit would increase to $23,400 from $12,150.

327 comments about this article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/peis-pension-reform-plan-gains-steam-ahead-of-flaherty-meeting/article14672859/comments/

Related coverage in the Globe and Mail:

* CPP needs more than a ‘modest’ fix to help middle-income retirees:
http://goo.gl/mjvS1U

* Canadian pension plan deficits slashed as rates rise, markets strengthen:
http://goo.gl/mv122E

* Harper government to appeal decision allowing veterans to fight for benefits:
http://goo.gl/vXz3Z1

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canada Pension Plan reforms and
Pooled Registered Pension Plans are back on the national agenda

December 14, 2012

From
Finance Canada:

Harper Government Takes Final Step in Development of Pooled Registered Pension Plans
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n12/12-165-eng.asp
December 14, 2012
News Release
The Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), today announced the coming into force of the second and final tranche of regulatory proposals to address provisions of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act. These regulations were pre-published in the Canada Gazette on October 27, 2012 for a 15-day public comment period, prior to final approval by the Government.

“This is the last package of regulations needed to complete the federal Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) framework, and it marks a significant milestone for Canada’s retirement income system,” said Minister Menzies. “With the federal framework now fully in force, our Government's efforts can serve as a model for provinces to implement their respective sides of the framework. I encourage them to do so, so PRPPs will become available to the millions of Canadians without access to a workplace pension option.”

The federal regulatory regime, which comes into force today, addresses various provisions of the PRPP Act.
Click the link above for a summary of those provisions.

Related Documents:

* Pooled Registered Pension Plans Regulations (PDF 76.20 Kb)
http://www.fin.gc.ca/drleg-apl/PRPP_Dec.14-e.pdf

* Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement
http://www.fin.gc.ca/n12/data/12-165_1-eng.asp

Source:
Finance Canada
http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp

----------------------------------------------------

NOTE : For links to specific information about
Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs)
,
go to http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/prpp.htm

From the
Toronto Star:

Time to put Flaherty on the spot
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1302903
December 15, 2012
By Martin Regg Cohn
When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty debates pension reform with the provinces Monday, he’ll be counting on Canadians to tune it out so he can wait it out — yet again. We will all pay a price for his inertia and our indifference: The day of reckoning for retirement incomes is coming, and Flaherty’s shameful procrastination on pensions won’t prepare us for what must inevitably be done — sooner rather than later. The real scandal is that, after two years of delay, concrete reforms are finally within reach. Yet Flaherty seems determined to sabotage the process.

Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

----------------------------------------------------

Two articles by Bill Currie of the Globe and Mail (both dated December 14, 2012)
regarding Canada Pension Plan reform:

Canada Pension Plan reform back on the national agenda
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/cpp-reform-back-on-the-national-agenda/article6345274/
Canada’s finance ministers are reopening the debate on reforms to the Canada Pension Plan with an aim to increase benefits as governments come to grips with the reality that Canadians are not saving enough for retirement. (...) Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty remains reluctant to approve CPP reforms, however, and is expected to try to focus the discussion on Ottawa’s preferred option, which is voluntary pooled registered pension plans (PRPPs) that would be privately managed.

54 comments about this article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/cpp-reform-back-on-the-national-agenda/article6345274/comments/

---

Flaherty seeks unity on pension reform
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/flaherty-seeks-unity-on-pension-reform/article6404747/
Jim Flaherty is setting a high bar for boosting the Canada Pension Plan, saying any move to increase benefits and premiums must have the unanimous support of provinces and territories given the importance of the program.
The Finance Minister’s position goes beyond the rules for amending the CPP, which mirror the formula for constitutional amendments and require the support of two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of Canada’s population.

14 comments about this article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/flaherty-seeks-unity-on-pension-reform/article6404747/comments/

Source:
The Globe and Mail

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Webcast : Options for expanding the Canada Pension Plan
Canadian Labour Congress
November 19, 2012
In July, the provincial premiers instructed their finance ministers to examine proposals to expand the Canada Pension Plan, yet another signal that the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) campaign to expand the CPP is clearly the most viable option to solving the future pension crisis for today’s young people.

A live webcast took place on Monday, November 19, as three of Canada’s top pension experts debated the various options for expanding the Canada Pension Plan.

Moderated by Susan Harada, associate professor of journalism at Carleton University and former national parliamentary correspondent for the CBC, panelists examined how the CLC's plan, and other plans to expand the CPP can provide a better and more secure retirement for all workers.

Panelists:
Bernard Dussault, former Chief Actuary of the Government of Canada
Dr. Keith Horner, nationally recognized pension consultant
Dr. Michael Wolfson, Research Chair, University of Ottawa

Click the link below to view the one-hour video of the Webcast:
http://webcasts.welcome2theshow.com/CLC2012

Source:
Canadian Labour Congress

http://canadianlabour.ca/

Retiring on a Low Income (Powerpoint presentation - 64K, 11 slides)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Retiring-on-a-Low-Incomeoct25.pptx
Community Launch
October 25, 2012
Contents:
* What is our income system for retirees in Ontario?
* Definition of low income
* Top Ten : Rogue's gallery of bad advice
* Why is mainstream financial advice wrong?
* What can be done

Source:
Retirement income for Canadians with low incomes
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton

Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH)
http://www.cmha.ca/

 

From the Public Service Alliance of Canada (National Capital Region):
[ http://psac-ncr.com/ ]

<<============

Old Age Security: We Are All Affected (video, duration 4:07)
Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (National Capital Region) explains why the Harper Government™ move to delay the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67 years of age is a betrayal of his election promises not to cut pensions, and how this decision will affect us all, from seniors who will have to work for two more years, many in failing health, before qualifying for OAS, to youth who will have fewer employment opportunities because those seniors will be staying in the work force longer...

How RRSP payments can help seniors with benefits
http://goo.gl/xdkS2
By Preet Banerjee
Posted February 24, 2012
Updated September 10, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk about changes to the Old Age Security program lately, but the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) deserves a lot more attention. For low-income seniors, it could amount to almost $9,000 a year, but a general lack of knowledge in financial planning is leading some people to effectively turn it down.

GIS is a benefit received on top of OAS for seniors whose incomes are below $16,368 (single person). But just as OAS is subject to clawback over a certain threshold, so is GIS. The big difference is that GIS is more aggressively clawed back from people who arguably need it more. The OAS clawback begins once your income has reached close to $70,000 and is clawed back at a rate of 15 cents per dollar. GIS, on the other hand, is clawed back at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar of income above $3,500.

This has led to the (not quite yet) conventional wisdom that the Tax Free Savings Account might be a better savings vehicle for low-income seniors. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than just that. It’s true that an RRSP or RRIF withdrawal made if you are eligible for GIS could effectively be taxed at around 70 per cent since you have to pay your marginal tax rate on the withdrawal and it can reduce your GIS payment by 50 cents per dollar. It’s also true that had that withdrawal come from a TFSA, the effective tax rate is zero, since the withdrawal does not affect income-tested benefits. “But there’s sort of an alternate universe that exists for lower-income seniors between 65 and 71”, says John Stapleton, a social policy consultant.

Remember that an RRSP contribution is an income deduction, so when you make a contribution, your income is lowered. Someone who is 65 and whose income is above $16,368 can reduce that income below the threshold by making an RRSP contribution. All of a sudden, that GIS tap is open.

“So yes, while the TFSA can be a better savings vehicle for many lower-income Canadians, you can’t just assume that will always be the case. You need to plan it out. Unfortunately, when I counsel people on this strategy I find that when they bring it to their bank, they get faced with a lot of blank stares”, Mr. Stapleton says.

12 comments about this article
http://goo.gl/CJpZI

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Retirement income for Canadians with low incomes
http://openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3/
By John Stapleton

This new page of John Stapleton's Open Policy website contains a new series on retirement income for Canadians with low incomes.
[ NOTE : Some examples in the files below relate to Ontario only.]

1. Maximizing GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement):
A background paper on retirement financial planning for Canadians with very low incomes
(PDF - 1.5MB, 9 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/maximizing-Paper-V6.pdf
September 2012

2. Toolkit: Determining OAS (Old Age Security)
and GIS eligibility for people who come to Canada as adults
(PDF - 1MB, 5 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/TOOL-questionaireV7.pdf
September 2012

3. Low Income Retirement Planning: Four things to think about (PDF - 2.5MB, 11 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Slides-Booklet-V8all.pdf
September 2012
* How do I get the Guaranteed Income Supplement?
* Does CPP early retirement make sense for me?
* What’s the smartest way to save before I turn 65?
* A smart way to save between ages 65 and 71

Complete package of the three above files in one download (PDF - 4.9MB, 27 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/allinonelowincomeretirement.pdf
September 2012

Cover page of the report and testimonials
by Sherri Torjman, Richard Shillington and Don Drummond
(PDF - 376K, 2 pages)
http://openpolicyontario.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Press-Kit-Folder-V5.pdf
September 2012

Source:
Open Policy
(John Stapleton's website)
http://openpolicyontario.com/
Email:
jsbb@rogers.com

---

Related links:

Low Income Retirement Planning in Canada: living in a different world
http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/john-stapleton/low-income-retirement-planning-canada-living-different-world
By John Stapleton
September 5, 2012
(...) For most people nearing retirement, the financial advice we get is based on two simple premises:
1. That our post-retirement income will be less than our pre-retirement income; and
2. That our taxable income will be lower at 65.
(...) [However,] for those on fixed incomes before age 65...the reality is that most low income seniors receive higher incomes when they turn 65. Old Age Security, combined with CPP and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, is often significantly higher than the social assistance, disability benefits, and low earnings they realize in the years leading up to age 65. And Old Age Security and CPP are taxable while social assistance and some disability benefits are not. This situation results in higher taxation once they reach 65, not lower.
(...) The document Planning for Retirement on a Low Income provides low income retirees and their advisors with the information and the tools they need to make the right decisions for their financial future:
*
When to take CPP early retirement
* When to avoid an RRSP
* When to buy a TFSA
* When to buy an RRSP

Source of this article:
Vibrantcanada.ca - Vibrant Communities Canada
http://vibrantcanada.ca/
Vibrantcanada.ca is a learning community of members, from diverse sectors, multi-sector roundtables, who share a common interest in reducing poverty, community engagement and collaboration. It is made up of individuals who are united in our desire to see one million people move beyond poverty all across Canada.

---

Low income senior’s income tax shock
http://www.moneyville.ca/article/1231097
By James Daw
July 29, 2012
This article is a case profile of a low-income senior, age 66, seeking advice about how to maximize a modest RRSP, while having minimal impact on her Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits. "Adeline" will have an income of $20,000 this year, including $2,927 from Ottawa’s Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). She was surprised to discover she would receive no GIS payments for the second half of the year, after she reported a one-time gain on the sale of some property on her 2011 tax return. Now she is worried she will lose more GIS payments once she starts to withdraw money from her modest $30,000 RRSP (registered retirement savings plan).
Source of the above article:
Moneyville
http://www.moneyville.ca/
---
Moneyville is a subsite of the
Toronto Star:

http://www.thestar.com/

---

- Go to the Asset-Based Social Policies Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/assets.htm

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (D-W) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk3.htm

- Go to the Seniors (Social Research) Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/seniors.htm

Recent releases from the
Caledon Institute of Social Policy:

The No-Budge Budget (PDF - 132K, 38 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/984ENG.pdf
April 2012
By Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson
Abstract (Excerpt):
The Caledon Institute’s analysis of the 2012 Budget argues that a number of its policy announcements are not backed up by solid evidence. Yet evidence – or lack thereof – has not stopped the federal government from taking action in recent years.
The ‘No-Budge Budget’ title for Caledon’s paper is clearly appropriate given the social policy centrepiece of this Budget: the hike in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security from 65 to 67. The Budget tries to soft-pedal the proposed change by emphasizing the gradual and lengthy nature of its implementation and assuring Canadians that the measure will not affect today’s seniors or people currently age 54 or older.
This paper argues there is no need to weaken the strong and effective set of programs that Canada is fortunate to have built over the years – at least not if the policy decisions were guided by the evidence.

Read the complete abstract:
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/Detail/?ID=984


Old Age Insecurity? (PDF - 128K, 29 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/983ENG.pdf
February 2012
By Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson

Abstract (Excerpt):
The controversy over raising the age of entitlement for Old Age Security from 65 to 67 is taking attention away from alternative possible reforms of that vital program, and of Canada’s pension system generally. The allegation that Old Age Security will be unsustainable in future is more a political than a policy judgement, and the substantive evidence does not support it.
(...)
The Caledon report puts forward possible changes for public debate, including:
* A new income benefit to poor seniors aged 65 and 66 so that they do not have to keep working or remain on welfare for two more years.
* An ‘actuarially adjusted’ Old Age Security, where the amount of benefit would vary with the age that beneficiaries choose to begin receiving their payments
* Lowering the clawback on the basic Old Age Security pension, either by reducing the income threshold or raising the reduction rate or both
* Combining Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the age credit and the pension income credit into a single income-tested program with a progressive design.
*
Scrapping the costly and regressive pension income splitting tax expenditure and using the savings to bolster the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

The focus on Old Age Security is important, but it threatens to deflect attention from the key to pension reform – boosting the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans.

Read the complete abstract:
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/Detail/?ID=983

Source:
Caledon Institute of Social Policy
http://www.caledoninst.org/

From the
Library of Parliament:

Canada’s Aging Population and Public Policy (Seven-part series)
http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/social-e.htm
[NOTE: For a PDF version, click a link below, then (on the next page) click the PDF link just before the table of contents.]

1. Statistical Overview (Feb. 2012)
2. The Effects on Economic Growth and Government Finances (Dec. 2011)
3. The Effects on Health Care (Oct. 2011)
---
4. The Effects on Public Pensions (Aug. 2011)
http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2011-120-e.htm
---
5. The Effects on Employers and Employees
(Feb. 2012)
6. The Effects on Home Care (Jan. 2012)
7. The Effects on Community Planning (Jan. 2012)

Source:
Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Library/VirtualLibrary/ResearchPublications-e.asp

Susan Eng of CARP on the CTV news on seniors’ poverty:
http://www.carp.ca/2011/12/21/susan-eng-on-ctv-news-seniors-in-poverty/

Working After Age 65:
What is at Stake?
(PDF - 512K, 12 pages)
http://goo.gl/fgjta
By Angella MacEwen
April 16, 2012
It is argued by some that eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) at age 65 discourages older Canadians from remaining in the workforce, and that we need to keep them working longer to avoid present and future labour shortages and a sharp rise in the so-called “dependency” ratio (the ratio of retirees to the working-age population). Accordingly, the federal government proposes to phase-in an increase in the age of eligibility from age 65 to age 67, affecting Canadians who are now 54 and younger.

This paper looks at some of the realities of working past age 65, and examines what an increase in the OAS eligibility age will mean for those who will have no choice but to work longer in the future.

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/

The later retirement solution
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/the-later-retirement-solution/article2383168/
By Peter Hicks
March 28, 2012
It’s widely expected that Thursday’s federal budget will announce a gradual increase in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security to ease the burden of population aging on Ottawa’s finances.
This would indeed be a sensible and necessary reform, but for an entirely different and more immediate reason than a general concern for fiscal sustainability. It would be a misuse of public funding to continue using 65 as the normal age of pension eligibility, when projections indicate that people, on average, will soon be working until 68, regardless of any changes to pension rules. Taxpayers’ money would serve a better purpose if allocated, for example, toward the health-care system rather than paying pensions to Canadians still in the work force, or discouraging those who would otherwise have kept working for a longer time.

40 comments about this article:
http://goo.gl/wgoSP

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

---

Related link:

Later Retirement : the Win-Win Solution (PDF - 1.3MB, 28 pages)
http://cdhowe.org/pdf/Commentary_345.pdf
Commentary No. 345
March 2012
By Peter Hicks
Retirement ages in Canada are on an upward trend, and should significantly reduce the dire impacts of population aging on the economy and living standards that many forecast. How should policymakers respond?
Source:
C.D. Howe Institute
http://www.cdhowe.org/
---
[Peter Hicks is a former assistant deputy minister in several federal government departments, and he also worked for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.]

---

Counterpoint:

This government doing very little to help poor folks
http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3525873
By Anne Finlay-Stewart
April 5, 2012
(...) Most families do not save for disaster.(...) The government also responds to emergencies with immediate funding. (...) Credit is the name of the game, whether in the family, the legislature or Parliament. But not for the poor. They have no such safety cushion. No lines of credit, no RRSPs, no credit cards. (...) Yes, it is true that some people are working longer. Lawyers, accountants and members of Pparliament may well find themselves able to draw their salaries in their late sixties. Those people will have their $510 per month taxed back anyway. Roofers, pipe-fitters, cooks and truck drivers may find their backs, knees and working lives do not last so long.
Source:
Owen Sound Sun-Times

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/

---

February 27, 2012
From the Caledon Institute of Social Policy:

Old Age Insecurity? (PDF - 128K, 29 pages)
http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/983ENG.pdf
By Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson
February 2012
The controversy over raising the age of entitlement for Old Age Security from 65 to 67 is taking attention away from alternative possible reforms of that vital program, and of Canada’s pension system generally. The allegation that Old Age Security will be unsustainable in future is more a political than a policy judgement, and the substantive evidence does not support it.

Source:
Caledon Institute of Social Policy

http://www.caledoninst.org/

How RRSP payments can help seniors with benefits
http://goo.gl/NxxTu
February 24, 2012
By Preet Banerjee
There’s been a lot of talk about changes to the Old Age Security program lately, but the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) deserves a lot more attention. For low-income seniors, it could amount to almost $9,000 a year, but a general lack of knowledge in financial planning is leading some people to effectively turn it down.
Tax Free Savings Account might be a better savings vehicle for low-income seniors. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than just that. It’s true that an RRSP or RRIF withdrawal made if you are eligible for GIS could effectively be taxed at around 70 per cent since you have to pay your marginal tax rate on the withdrawal and it can reduce your GIS payment by 50 cents per dollar. It’s also true that had that withdrawal come from a TFSA, the effective tax rate is zero, since the withdrawal does not affect income-tested benefits. “But there’s sort of an alternate universe that exists for lower-income seniors between 65 and 71”, says social policy consultant John Stapleton. (...) while the TFSA can be a better savings vehicle for many lower-income Canadians, you can’t just assume that will always be the case. You need to plan it out.
Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Proposed Old Age Security reforms
(moving age of eligibility from 65 to 67):

Is the federal Old Age Security Minister playing divide-and-conquer with youth, seniors?
February 24

[By Gilles]
On February 21, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Minister Diane Finley gave a speech at Toronto’s swanky Canadian Club --- including a photo-op-ready table of high school students --- about the looming Old Age Security crisis. According to the Star, "[S]he painted a picture of a country awash in grey, gasping seniors, more over 65s than under 14s by 2030, with a shrinking tax base, declining birth rate and skilled-worker shortage." We cannot be backed into a choice between the country’s financial security and the commitment to aging Canadians, she said.

Where I come from, that's called the Divide-And-Conquer Strategy [ or Divide-And-Rule --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divide_and_rule ], best summed up in the old saw, "As the watering hole shrinks, the animals start eyeing one another."

Below, you'll find links to two articles about this event. The first deals with the GAG ORDER imposed upon the students (BOOOOOOOOO!), and the second labels as "cynical" the Tory strategy pitting the young and old generations against each other in this manufactured crisis.

---

Diane Finley sells old-age pension changes to the young
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1134754
February 24, 2012
By Tim Harper
(...) Both initiatives (raising the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the recent Internet surveillance bill) show a government obsessed with choreography and stage management, suddenly and curiously gone tone deaf, back on its heels against an opposition offensive. The NDP did dispatch Beaches—East York MP Matthew Kellway for a reality check. (...) A less partisan view surely would be forthcoming from the students arrayed at the luncheon, the ones targeted again and again by Finley, the ones she told to pay attention because this policy is aimed at their generation. (...) But, alas, we will never know. The students from Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School of Scarborough, used so expertly by a minister with a message, were barred from talking to the media. We don’t know about their retirement plans, but they have already been taught a lesson on message control.
Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

---

The Tories Cynical Strategy On Pensions
http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2012/02/24/58095/
February 24, 2012
By Ken Gray
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has taken a most cynical tact in trying to convince Canadians they should take their Old Age Security payments at age 67 rather than the age for which they paid for them at age 65. Despite the fact that many economists and Parliament’s budget officer feel the OAS is sustainable as it is, the Harper administration, following its small-government ideology, is determined to sell the measure. However rather than address the issue with seniors, Finley is targeting young Canadian voters.
(...)
The OAS, the Canada Pension Plan, medicare (for which federal transfer funds to the provinces have now been capped with no debate undertaken by the Conservative government) and other parts of the meagre safety net are some of the most civilized measures enacted in history. Now it looks as if the federal government is prepared to carry out its small government agenda (despite spending billions on crime legislation and F-35s — a little consistency is lacking here) on the backs of the elderly and the sick.

Source:
The Bulldog (Ken Gray's blog)

http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/author/kengray20/

Ottawa Citizen
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

From the
Globe and Mail Economy Lab:

The Data Room : Interactives, videos and graphics
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/data-room/
The Data Room is The Globe and Mail's new resource for digging into the raw data on the economy.

Selected graphs from
the Data Room:

Old Age Security expenditures as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product
http://goo.gl/1mC7h
February 8, 2012
- total of the Old Age Pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and The Allowance (as % of GDP)

---

OAS expenditures: 1966-2060
http://goo.gl/ksENL
February 8, 2012
- historical (to 2009) and projected. Total includes expenditures realting to OAS, GIS and The Allowance and administrative expenses. Dollars are in projected nominal values.

---

OAS and GIS beneficiaries: 1966-2060
http://goo.gl/SJnmb
February 8, 2012
- Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement Beneficiaries Historical (to 2009) and projected

---

- Population of Canada projected to 2060
http://goo.gl/M4s9j
January 30, 2012
- by age group (0-19 --- 20-64 --- 65 and over - reaching age 65)

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Targeting lower-income seniors
http://www.carp.ca/2012/02/09/targeting-lower-income-seniors/
By Ish Theilheimer
January 2012
On May 2 last year, nearly four in ten Canadian voters went Conservative — giving Stephen Harper a majority government and a mandate, as he sees it, to reshape Canada. Some voters believed they’d get good management, some wanted to get rid of the gun law, some wanted law and order. Most voters probably did not vote to make retirement a far-away, insecure dream for themselves, but that may be what they chose.
Source:
CARP
http://www.carp.ca/

Originally published by
Straight Goods
[ http://www.straightgoods.ca/ ]
on January 31st 2012.

Proposed Old Age Security reforms
(moving age of eligibility from 65 to 67):

Prime Minister's new policy would force up to 50,000 to live in poverty for two more years
http://goo.gl/XDbdc
February 10, 2012
By John Stapleton
By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the age of eligibility for OAS to 67, absent any other measures, the Conservative government will place a whole new age cohort into risk of poverty. My own estimate is that almost 50,000 social assistance recipients, most of them persons with disabilities, would be forced to live in poverty for up to two more years.
Clearly, if the age threshold for OAS is to be raised to 67, we must do more to ensure that the 65 -67 age cohort escapes poverty. Perhaps then, some higher income families with non-working spouses could wait just a bit longer for the extra money they have demonstrated they don’t require.

- John Stapleton is a Toronto social policy consultant.
http://www.openpolicyontario.com/

Source:
CARP
http://www.carp.ca/
CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada’ promoting social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. Our mandate is to promote and protect the interests, rights and quality of life for Canadians as we age.

Pension changes won’t happen until 2020 or later, Flaherty says
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1129450
February 10, 2012
By Bruce Campion-Smith
OTTAWA—Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has good news for Canadians aged 57 and older — you won’t be hit by looming changes to Canada’s Old Age Security program. Flaherty, 62, said Friday that changes under consideration won’t likely take effect for at least eight years, ensuring that those approaching retirement in the short-term won’t be affected.
Source:
Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/

---

Federal Finance Damage Control Unit:
"He didn't really mean that!"

Staff denies timeline for OAS changes:
Flaherty mentions 2020, but speculation is premature, spokesman says
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Staff+denies+imeline+changes/6136649/story.html
By Mark Kennedy
February 11, 2012
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appeared to suggest Friday that planned changes to the pension system won't occur before 2020, but government officials later moved to clarify his comments and urged people not to assume this reflects a final decision on timing for a plan.

Source:
Ottawa Citizen
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

Old Age Security: Can We Afford It? (PDF - 169K, 4 pages)
http://goo.gl/Q49iF
February 2012
By Monica Townson
Old Age Security is the basic building block of Canada’s retirement income system. It is a flat rate monthly benefit that goes to everyone at age 65, provided they meet certain residency requirements. Canadians build on that foundation, saving for their retirement with benefits from the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, a workplace pension if they’re lucky enough to have one, and private savings.

But now Prime Minster Harper says OAS is unsustainable. According to the Prime Minister, the program will not be able to accommodate the retirement of the baby boom generation over the next 20 years, so something must be done. Although details were sketchy at first, Harper now admits he is planning to raise the age of eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67.

Pension experts don’t agree with him.

Source:
Alternative Federal Budget Updates
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/projects/alternative-federal-budget

Author Monica Townson is an independent economic consultant working in the field of social policy. She has written six books and many reports and studies on pensions and retirement, income security programs and the economic situation of women.

More about Monica Townson
http://www.sfu.ca/grc/friesen/2008/townson/

More reports and studies by Monica Townson
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/authors/monica-townson

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/
The CCPA is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice.

There’s no old age security ‘crisis’ : Parliamentary Budget Officer
http://goo.gl/OPKl9
By Bill Currie
February 8, 2012
Kevin Page says the boomers will not break the bank.
In fact, Ottawa’s finances are in such good shape that it could afford to cut taxes and boost spending all while cutting cheques to a growing number of Canadian seniors. Mr. Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, released a new report Wednesday that takes a close look at the suddenly explosive issue of Old Age Security and pours cold water on Conservative warnings that the program faces a sustainability crisis.

[ 1142 comments : http://goo.gl/oSwze ]

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com

---

The report of the
Parliamentary Budget Officer:

Federal Fiscal Sustainability and Elderly Benefits
http://www.parl.gc.ca/PBO-DPB/documents/Sustainability_OAS.pdf
February 8, 2012
This note reviews the framework PBO uses to assess fiscal sustainability and provides a comparison of projections of federal elderly benefits over the long term. Long-term federal debt-to-GDP projections and estimates of the federal fiscal gap are also provided under alternative assumptions regarding the indexation of elderly benefit payments.

Source:
Parliamentary Budget Officer
http://www.parl.gc.ca/PBO-DPB/index.aspx?Language=E
The mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) is to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation’s finances, the government’s estimates and trends in the Canadian economy; and upon request from a committee or parliamentarian, to estimate the financial cost of any proposal for matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction.

Related link:

Maybe Canada should raise OAS limit to 67
Change would ease demographic crunch
http://goo.gl/1PQvy
By Stephen Maher
February 9, 2012
(...) For electoral reasons, we spend a lot of time in Canada debating retirement security, and little debating education, which is how we can boost our productivity, the key to making the economy grow, so we can afford to pay benefits to retired people. It's not Harper's style to release position papers and have a civilized debate about OAS. His style is to declare a crisis, attack the parliamentary budget officer, denounce his opponents as dangerous idiots who want to wreck Canada and declare that his plan is all that stand between us and ruin. That's not true, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't raise the age of eligibility for OAS.

Source:
Ottawa Citizen
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

Stephen Harper: Old Age Security changes are 'being considered'
http://goo.gl/0oL60
By Mark Kennedy
February 3, 2012

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday for the first time that his government is considering increasing the eligibility age for Canada's Old Age Security (OAS) system, which provides benefits for people once they turn 65.
Harper made the comment in a candid interview in his office across from Parliament Hill with Postmedia News and the National Post.
Source:
Ottawa Citizen
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

Hill Dispatches: Lots of pension options, no open discussion in Parliament
http://goo.gl/vesPe
By Karl Nerenberg
February 1, 2012
Quick now, what do Kim Campbell -- who served as prime minister briefly in 1993, and led her party to its biggest defeat ever -- and Stephen Harper have in common?
Well, aside from the fact that they are both nominally "Conservative," they both seem to believe, as Campbell put it during her disastrous 1993 campaign, "an election campaign is no time to discuss serious issues."
(...)
There is plenty of evidence that Harper and his chorus of cheerleaders in the commentariat (see Coyne, Andrew, et al.) are crying Chicken Little on the question of Canada's looming, "unfunded" pension obligations.
(...)
Harper talks vaguely about "assuring the sustainability of our social programs." But what are the goals of those programs; what shared values should they reflect?
There is no public forum to deal with these basic questions. As with the previous Chrétien-Martin government, too much policy is breathlessly enunciated in a clouded and turbulent atmosphere of supposed "fiscal crisis."
Source:
rabble.ca blogs
http://rabble.ca/blogs/
[ rabble.ca:
http://rabble.ca/ ]

Pension reform raises questions about effect in provinces
http://goo.gl/v4nLe
By Bill Curry
February 1, 2012
Free bus passes for poor seniors in British Columbia never came up during Stephen Harper’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Neither did prescription drug cards for struggling retirees in Newfoundland. But there is a link. The Prime Minister has signalled that he is ready to tackle long-term questions about the sustainability of Canada’s social programs as the ratio of seniors to workers climbs. Yet as provinces, seniors groups and federal opposition parties read the tea leaves coming from Ottawa on pension reform, questions are being raised about the trickle-down effects of a unilateral change in Ottawa.

Several provinces require citizens to prove they receive the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors to qualify for their own programs aimed at helping poor seniors. In addition to B.C. and Newfoundland, other examples include Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Liberal MP Gerry Byrne pointed out that the city of Corner Brook uses the GIS as a trigger for tax breaks on water bills for low-income seniors. Using the GIS is a way for provinces and municipalities to receive proof that those applying for programs to help poor seniors are, in fact, poor. If Ottawa raises the current eligibility age of 65 for Old Age Security and the GIS – a prospect the government has neither ruled out nor confirmed – it would impact these other programs.

[ 348 comments : http://goo.gl/VKPMo ]

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Research shows Old Age Security system keeps seniors out of poverty
http://goo.gl/1kgho
February 1, 2012
By Heather Scoffield

OTTAWA - Research prepared for the federal government shows that the old-age benefits cited by Stephen Harper as perhaps unsustainable are a key factor keeping seniors out of poverty. The technical, 80-page paper shows that without Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement, more than a third of women and more than a quarter of men in their 60s would fall below the poverty line. "The OAS programs have a significant influence on the incidence of low income," the report's author, Richard Shillington, wrote.
(...)
The paper, titled Evaluation of the Old Age Security Program*, was written by social policy researcher Shillington in 2009, on a contract with the Ottawa-based econometrics firm Informetrica Ltd. It was prepared for the Human Resources Department.
---
* NOTE : I couldn't find this report online on Feb. 2 (2012)
Click the shortcut link below to see a Google Search Result page which will include the report if it's is eventually posted online.
http://goo.gl/BXyKP
---
Source:
Canadian Business Magazine
http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

Related links:

Canadian Labour Congress
http://www.canadianlabour.ca/

Informetrica
http://www.informetrica.com/

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/

No changes to Old Age Security benefits in upcoming budget, Flaherty says
http://goo.gl/4IQrV
February 1, 2012
OTTAWA - The upcoming federal budget will not include changes to the Old Age Security program for seniors but changes are coming, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Wednesday. The minister said in a CBC interview from Israel that nothing in the coming budget will affect Canadians receiving benefits this year.
Source:
Winnipeg Free Press
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/

Why raising OAS to 67 doesn't make sense
http://www.moneyville.ca/article/1124518
By Ellen Roseman
February 1, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper raised eyebrows with a speech last week that fueled speculation he plans to lift the eligibility for Old Age Security to 67 (from 65). Harper’s argument that deep cuts are required to keep the program afloat deserves closer attention, even though he’s been backpedalling ever since. I have two points to make:
— There is nothing new in the numbers he quotes about OAS costs rising as baby boomers retire.
— There are ways to reduce costs that won’t incense Opposition parties and organized seniors’ groups.

Comments (68):
http://www.moneyville.ca/article/1124518#comments

Source:
Moneyville (Toronto Star)
http://www.moneyville.ca/

Research belies PM’s warning about OAS
http://goo.gl/4vXz7
By Bill Curry
January 30, 2012
Expert advice commissioned by the federal government contradicts Stephen Harper’s warnings that Canada can’t afford the looming bill for Old Age Security payments.
(...)
Edward Whitehouse – who researches pension policy on behalf of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank – was asked by Ottawa to study and report on how Canada stacks up internationally when it comes to pensions.
[See the link to his report below.]

His conclusion: “The analysis suggests that Canada does not face major challenges of financial sustainability with its public pension schemes,” and “there is no pressing financial or fiscal need to increase pension ages in the foreseeable future.”

[ 898 comments : http://goo.gl/11n5t ]

Source:
Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The Whitehouse report:

Canada's retirement-income provision:
An international perspective

http://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/pubs/pension/ref-bib/whitehouse-eng.asp
[Undated, appears to be a 2009 report]
Excerpt from "Conclusions":
Long-term projections show that public retirement-income provision is financially sustainable. Population ageing will naturally increase public pension spending, but the rate of growth is lower and the starting point better than many OECD countries.

CCPA and other resources on pension reform and Old Age Security : Update
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/resources-pension-reform-and-old-age-security
January 30, 2012
Last week Prime Minister Harper signaled possible cuts to Canada's pension programs, namely Old Age Security benefits for middle- and lower-income seniors. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has produced several resources on pension reform, including analysis of the possible plan to raise the age for OAS eligibility:
[Click the link above to access any of the following links)

* Is The OAS/GIS Program Unaffordable?, by Andrew Jackson
* Hennessy's Index: Grey Power, by Trish Hennessy
* Low Income and the Age of Eligibility for OAS, by Andrew Jackson
* Raising The Retirement Age Is The Wrong Way To Deal With The Retirement Crisis, by Andrew Jackson
* Delaying Retirement: What does it mean for younger workers?, by Karen Foster
* A Stronger Foundation: Pension Reform and Old Age Security, by Monica Townson
* Pension Breakdown: How the Finance Ministers Bungled Pension Reform, by Monica Townson

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice. Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada at the World Economic Forum
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=4604
26 January 2012
Davos, Switzerland

(...)We have already taken steps to limit the growth of our health care spending over that period ["over the next generation"]. We must do the same for our retirement income system. Fortunately, the centerpiece of that system, the Canada Pension Plan, is fully funded, actuarially sound and does not need to be changed. For those elements of the system that are not funded [i.e., Old Age Security], we will make the changes necessary to ensure sustainability for the next generation while not affecting current recipients.
Source:
Prime Minister of Canada
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/index.asp

---

From the
Toronto Star:

http://www.thestar.com/

Stephen Harper vows big changes to retirement benefits and immigration policy
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1122179
January 26, 2012
By Bruce Campion-Smith
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper is vowing “major transformations” — including changes to Canada’s immigration system and retirement benefits — to ensure the future prosperity of the country. Feeling the demographic pressures of an aging population, Harper told an international economic forum that big changes loom to safeguard Canada’s wealth.

[ Comments (86)
http://goo.gl/uhAXp ]

Source:
Toronto Star:
http://www.thestar.com/

From CBC News:

Harper signals pension system 'changes' loom
PM outlines changes in speech at economic forum in Davos

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/01/27/pensions-harper.html
January 27, 2012
Ottawa will transform the country's pension system to curtail government costs, but details won't come until the budget, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a major speech to global movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, Harper also signalled looming reforms in immigration as well as research and development — all in the name of ensuring Canada's economy is on a strong footing.

[ 344 Comments:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/01/27/pensions-harper.html#socialcomments ]

Related CBC
News
Links:

P.O.V. | Would pension changes affect your retirement?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/01/would-pension-changes-affect-your-retirement.html

Harper tells Davos that hard choices needed now
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/26/davos-harper-thurs.html

Special report : RRSPs
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/features/taxseason/

Retirement: Canadians get poor grades for savings
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/taxseason/story/2011/12/20/f-rrsp-savings-rate-graph.html

MPs urged to give up 'platinum-plated' pensions
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/18/pol-mp-pensions.html

Pooled pension plans become the latest retirement planning option
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/taxseason/story/2011/11/17/f-prpp-details.html

Harper hints pension reform (video, duration 3:15)
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Canada/ID=2190720298

Source:
CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news

---

Commentary by Andrew Jackson
of the Canadian Labour Congress:

Hiking the Retirement Age is the Wrong Answer to the Retirement Crisis
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2012/01/27/hiking-the-retirement-age-is-the-wrong-answer-to-the-retirement-crisis/
January 27, 2012
Raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) benefits is the worst possible way to deal with the retirement income security crisis facing Canadians. Experts such as former Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Wolfson project that one half of all middle income baby boomers face a severe cut to their living standards in old age. This is due to falling employer pension coverage (down to 25% in the private sector), rising household debt combined with low savings, and the big hit to “fend for yourself” RRSPs which comes from high fees and low investment returns.
Source:
Progressive Economics Forum Blog
http://www.progressive-economics.ca/relentless/

Pension experts call for expansion of the CPP
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20111213/cpp-pension-expansion-appeal-111213
December 13, 2011
OTTAWA — A group of pension experts, including a former chief actuary of the Canada Pension Plan, is calling on Canada's finance ministers to commit to expanding the CPP.
In an open letter Tuesday to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his provincial and territorial counterparts, the group said a growing body of research indicates that many Canadians will likely have inadequate savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
(...)
The other signatories included
- Bob Baldwin, an expert adviser for the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions;
- Keith Horner, a pensions consultant and a former federal Finance Department official;
- Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, the Canada research chair in public finance at Simon Fraser University;
- Monica Townson, an economic consultant who served on the Pension Commission of Ontario, and
- Michael Wolfson, the Canada research chair in population health modelling/populomics at the University of Ottawa.

Canada's finance ministers are to meet in Victoria next week.
Source:
CTV.ca

http://www.ctv.ca/

Also from CTV:

National Affairs: Paying for federal pensions
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20111213/cpp-pension-expansion-appeal-111213
Click the video link for an eight-minute video featuring C.D. Howe Institute President and CEO William Robson and Larry Rousseau, executive vice president for the national capital region of PSAC, debating whether Ottawa can afford to pay for the pensions of federal employees.

55,000 eligible Canadians aren’t getting CPP. Why?
By Gordon Pape
August 21, 2011
If this comment offends some readers I’m sorry, but it needs to be said. When it comes to finances, many of us are at a kindergarten level. Millions of Canadians have no understanding of some of the most basic concepts needed to function in today’s world, from budgeting to handling debt.

The federal government’s Task Force on Financial Literacy was more diplomatic in its language but that was the essence of its message to the government and the Canadian people in its final report, published earlier this year.

[ Related links : http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/fedbkmrk.htm#financial_literacy ]

(...) Ignorance and/or indifference costs Canadians billions of dollars every year — that’s right, billions! Here are some almost unbelievable numbers from the findings of the Literacy Task Force.
•Roughly 160,000 eligible seniors do not receive the Old Age Security benefit (representing almost $1 billion in pre-tax benefits).
•About 150,000 eligible seniors do not receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
•Approximately 55,000 eligible Canadians are not receiving Canada Pension Plan benefits.
•The take-up rate for the Canada Education Savings Grant is just 40 per cent.
•The median RRSP contribution represents only 6 per cent of the total eligible room available.
As might be expected, the Task Force called for more financial education, both for young people and adults...

[ Comments (24) ]

Source:
Moneyville
[ Toronto Star ]

A New Pension Plan for Canadians : Assessing the Options (PDF - 359K, 44 pages)
By Keith Horner
July 2011
The author compares the features and effects of various pension reform options and concludes that a new, national, mandatory, defined-benefit plan, such as an enrichment of the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, would provide the greatest benefits to plan participants and the economy.
[Keith Horner, a former Finance Department official.]

Expanding CPP/QPP would maintain future retirees’ living standard
National, mandatory, defined-benefit plans would be higher, more secure
(PDF - 203K,1 page)
News Release
July 5, 2011

Source:
Institute for Research on Public Policy

Financial Literacy and the Take-up of Government Benefits (PDF - 585K, 41 pages)
Research paper prepared for the
Task Force on Financial Literacy
By Richard Shillington
File dated February 4, 2011
- includes detailed information on the utilization of government benefits for saving, child-rearing, education and retirement in Canada
(Old Age Security - Guaranteed Income Supplement - Canada Pension Plan - Disability Benefits - Student Loans - more...)
Source:
Task Force on Financial Literacy in Canada
In the 2009 budget, the Minister of Finance announced his intention to establish a national task force dedicated to the issue of financial literacy. Appointed in June 2009, the Task Force on Financial Literacy is comprised of 13 members, drawn from the business and education sectors, community organizations and academia.
- incl. links to : * Home * About the Task Force * Report of the Task Force * Consulting with Canadians* Media * Contact Us * Links

-------------------------

Related articles
in the media:

Ottawa must honour millions in unclaimed pension benefits
February 11, 2011
When Canadians are neglecting to collect benefits to which they are entitled, governments should take that as a sign that there is a financial literacy gap and make an effort to close it. That means they should be doing more to contact the 150,000 people who qualify for, but are not receiving, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which is only available to the lowestincome seniors. They need to find out why another 160,000 eligible seniors are not collecting their Old Age Security benefits.
Source:
Vancouver Sun

Evidence of financial illiteracy?
Thousands fail to collect government benefits

By Jonathan Chevreau
February 9, 2011
After 18 months, the Task Force on Financial Literacy has delivered a 106-page report (86 if you don’t count appendixes) to federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. (...) There are 30 main recommendations, beginning with the call to appoint a national Financial Literacy Leader reporting to Mr. Flaherty. It wants to make financial literacy an “essential skill” in the government’s Essential Skills Framework and wants all the provinces and school boards to jump aboard. (...) It also urges the creation of a “single source website for financial literacy” and recommends that financial firms and regulators intensify their efforts to combat fraud. (...)
Low take-up of government benefits
The report shows some interesting stats on the need for financial literacy when it comes to taking up government benefits. It says 160,000 eligible seniors don’t get Old Age Security ($1 billion worth); 150,000 don’t get the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and 55,000 aren’t getting the Canada Pension Plan. Also, the take up for the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is just 40% while the median RRSP contribution represents only 6% of total eligible room. That’s my definition of being financially illiterate — failing to take free money when it’s available.
Source:
Financial Post

Billions in government benefits unclaimed by Canadians: task force
By Andrew Duffy
February 9, 2011
Billions of dollars worth of government benefits are going unclaimed by Canadians, according to a federal task force on financial literacy. The task force, which reported Wednesday, said the government should simplify its programs and application forms to ensure more Canadians benefit from the financial support to which they're entitled. (...) A research report prepared for the task force examined why some government programs have such poor "take-up" rates. Those rates are considered an important measure of financial literacy. The report concluded that language and poverty often present barriers, particularly when the programs or application forms are complex. "Lower-income Canadians face distinct financial literacy challenges in being aware of and accessing the very government programs that are targeted to them," concluded researcher Richard Shillington.
Source:
Vancouver Sun

November 12, 2010
Pension Satellite Account, 2009
After a steep decline in 2008, the total value of pension assets rebounded in 2009 to $2.1 trillion at year end, reflecting the strong performance of global equity markets that began in March 2009. This rebound (+15.5%) brought pension assets close to their 2007 level. The recovery in wealth accumulation during 2009 was relatively evenly distributed across the three pension tiers. Individual registered saving plans led the way, up 20.5% to $750.9 billion. Social security and employer-based pension plans were up 13.3% and 12.8%, respectively.

Related link:

Guide to the Canadian Pension Satellite Account
[Use the links in the left margin to navigate this report,
or download the PDF version - 153K, 19 pages)
This guide presents an overview of the scope and structure of the Pension Satellite Account as well as the methodology used to derive its stocks and flows estimates.

Source:
The Daily
[Statistics Canada]

Ontario Seeks to Strengthen Canada's Retirement Income System:
McGuinty Government Consults On A More Secure Retirement

News Release
October 29, 2010
Ontario is taking the next step to strengthen retirement income security by releasing the discussion paper "Securing our Retirement Future: Consulting with Ontarians on Canada's Retirement Income System." It outlines the challenges facing Ontarians and all Canadians who are seeking a stable and secure retirement income and the options available to them.

Securing Our Retirement Future:
Consulting with Ontarians on Canada's Retirement Income System

(...) While our system is already strong, we can do a number of things to make it even better. Ontario supports a three-point approach to help create a truly world-leading retirement income system.
First, we need to update our own employment pension laws.
Second, we must build on the strengths of the CPP through a modest expansion of benefits.
Third, we need more pension innovation.
...
Feedback on the discussion paper should be submitted no later than November 29, 2010.
Please submit comments to Pension.Feedback@ontario.ca
... or send written comments to:
Ministry of Finance
Retirement Income Security Submission
c/o Communications & Corporate Affairs Branch
3rd Floor, Frost Building North
95 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, ON
M7A 1Z1

Source:
Ontario Ministry of Finance

--------------------------------

Related links from the
Government of Ontario:

Further Improvements To Pensions For Ontarians:
McGuinty Government Continues to Modernize and Strengthen Retirement Income System
October 19, 2010
Reforms to be introduced today will further strengthen Ontarians' pensions, addressing concerns of workers, retirees, and employers. The Securing Pension Benefits Now and for the Future Act, 2010 builds on the first phase of reforms that passed unanimously last Spring.

* Learn more about Ontario's position on retirement income reform
* Read a summary of the report by the Expert Commission on Pensions

- Go to the Ontario Government Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk.htm

Canadians support increase in Canada Pension Plan benefits
October 15, 2010
More than three quarters of Canadians support increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits, according to a new national survey released today. Eighty percent of Canadians also support increasing federal payments to senior citizens and half of the survey respondents believe the government is moving too slow in reforming Canada’s pension system. The Future of Pensions poll was completed by Environics Research Group in late August for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. It surveyed 2,020 Canadians and has a margin of error of +/-2.2 per cent 19 times out of 20. (...) T
he survey asked Canadians their views on saving and their expectations for retirement. While many Canadians have set up a Retirement Savings Plan or a Tax-Free Savings Account, four in 10 acknowledge that they are not saving for retirement—mostly because they cannot afford to. (...) Poll respondents also overwhelmingly support increasing Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements for those living below the poverty line. OAS and GIS payments amount to only $11,000 per year.

Detailed Poll Highlights

Source:
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Together, CUPE and PSAC represent more than 800,000 public sector workers across Canada. Both organizations have been advocating for retirement security for all Canadians.

Public consultation on ensuring the ongoing
strength of Canada's retirement income system
March 24 - May 14, 2010

Ensuring the Ongoing Strength
of Canada’s Retirement Income System
*
- provides background information on Canada's retirement income system;
- provides an overview of research on retirement income adequacy;
- describes a variety of proposals in the public domain relating to Canada's retirement income system; and
- solicits views of Canadians on Canada's retirement income system and how to ensure its ongoing strength.

* NOTE: Recommended reading - includes over a dozen links to related and contextual information in areas such as:
- Canada's Government Supported Retirement Income System
- Research on Retirement Income Adequacy
- Considerations for Evaluating Retirement Income System Issues
- Range of Proposals in the Public Domain
- Summary of Questions

This public consultation took place from March 24 to May 14, 2010.

Related link:

News Release
March 24, 2010
The federal government today 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 ensuring the ongoing strength of Canada’s retirement income system. The consultations will inform discussions at the next meeting of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance in May, where the retirement income system will be a key agenda item.
(...)
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.

Source:
Department of Finance Canada

Pension reform issue poses threat
Concrete plan needed to avoid hard lobbying: reform advocates
By Norma Greenaway
January 11, 2010
Federal and provincial governments will pay a political price if they fail to turn a vague commitment made in December to pursue pension reform into a concrete plan to bolster Canadians' retirement savings, reform advocates are warning. The Canadian Labour Congress and the leading advocacy group for seniors, known as CARP, vow no-holds-barred campaigns to persuade the Harper government to commit to pension reform in its March throne speech and to keep provincial governments on the case.
Source:
The Ottawa Citizen

Related links:

Next budget must stress good jobs
- Georgetti says unemployment, low wages hurting younger workers

January 8, 2010
OTTAWA – When the federal government introduces a new budget in March, it must make the creation of good jobs a priority, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Source:
Canadian Labour Congress
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.

---

No Excuses - CARP Poll gives specific Advice
December 17, 2009
TORONTO - Over 1,700 CARP members responding overnight to CARP’s Pension Reform Poll want real action and give specific advice as well as their reaction to recent federal proposals.

CARP
CARP is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all Canadians as we age by advocating for social change that will bring financial security, equitable and timely access to health care and freedom from discrimination.
CARP was originally known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, and is now called Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus. (According to this Wikipedia article)


From the
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

Old Age Security system needs strengthening: report
Press Release
November 25, 2009
OTTAWA—Canada’s Old Age Security system needs improvement in order to help ensure the economic security and dignity of Canadians in retirement, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The report, by pension expert and CCPA Research Associate Monica Townson, reviews OAS and its associated programs of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowance and discusses measures that could be taken to strengthen this part of Canada’s pension system.

Complete report:

A Stronger Foundation: Pension Reform and Old Age Security (PDF - 146K, 7 pages)
By Monica Townson
November 2009

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pension system needs urgent attention: report
Press Release
October 8, 2009
OTTAWA— Canada’s pension system needs urgent attention, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The report, by CCPA Research Associate and pension expert Monica Townson, outlines some of the problems with Canada’s pension system and examines some of the options that have been proposed to deal with them.

Complete report:

What Can We Do About Pensions? (PDF - 147K, 9 pages)
By Monica Townson
October 2009

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice. Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.

Minister of Finance Modernizes Federal Pension Framework
October 27, 2009
News Release
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released an important reform plan for the federal private pension legislative and regulatory framework. (...) Today’s announcement comes out of extensive consultations with Canadians, beginning with the January release of a discussion paper, Strengthening the Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, and including online consultations. (...)
The package includes measures to:
* Enhance protections for plan members.
* Reduce funding volatility for defined benefit plans.
* Make it easier for participants to negotiate changes to their pension arrangements.
* Improve the framework for defined contribution plans and for negotiated contribution plans.
* Modernize the rules for investments made by pension funds.

Backgrounder - detailed information on each of the five measures

Source:
Finance Canada

From The Globe and Mail:

Retirement Lost (seven-part series - October 16-24, 2009)
Canada's retirement dreams are under siege, weakened by underfunding and hobbled by the global recession.
It's a national crisis with no easy answers.

* Part one: The crisis
--- Retirement dreams under siege

By Jacquie McNish
October 16, 2009
- incl. links to: * Article * Video * Photos * Pension scenarios * Comments (198)
What you need to know:
--- 84% of public service workers have pensions.
--- 78% of these plans are gold plated defined benefit pensions
--- 25% of private sector workers have a pension plan
--- 16% of these plans are gold plated defined benefit pensions
--- 11 million workers, or 60 per cent, of Canada’s workers have no pension at all
--- 8 million or 45 per cent, have no pensions or registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)

* Part Two: Manufacturing's wreckage
--- Bankrupt companies, pension promises destroyed
By Greg Keenan
October 18, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions (recommended by Gilles!) * Comments
What you need to know:
--- 17.6 million: Number of people in the Canadian work force.
--- 11 million: Number of Canadian workers without pension plans.
--- 4 million: Number of those workers with registered retirement savings plans.
--- 10,000: Number of pension plans in Canada.
---- 4.5 million: Workers with pension plans who have defined benefit plans that guarantee the pension income of retirees until they die.
--- 55 per cent: Amount of those plans held by public sector employees.
--- $25,000: Average pension per year.

* Part three: Death of the traditional plan
--- Hybrid pension plans: a hard sell
By Janet McFarland
October 19, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions * Comments (36)
As companies weigh alternatives for the future, a crucial choice comes down to a pair of innocuously simple-looking bits of shorthand: Will the future be DB (Defined Benefit) or DC (Defined Contribution)? Traditional pension plans are DB, defined benefit. A retiree covered by the plan is guaranteed a given level of income. If the plan falls short, the employer is on the hook. The new model, increasingly favoured by employers, is DC, defined contribution. In this approach, the employer’s responsibility is limited to making a certain (“defined”) contribution to the employees’ pension plan. Contributions made by both the employer and employee go into an individual account for the employee, who makes his or her own investment choices. If the plan falls short, the employee is on the hook.

* Part four: Conflicts of interest
--- Financial planning: Whom should you trust?
By Rob Carrick
October 20, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions * Comments (78)
As pensions become unreliable, more Canadians are being forced to plan for retirement themselves. But whom do you turn to for help? The experience of one couple who relied on a financial adviser is a cautionary tale.

* Part five: Underfunded dreams
--- No pension safety net for self-employed
By Andrew Willis
October 21, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions * Comments (59)
Meet the next generation of retirees: middle-class workers without pensions who are left to their own devices and facing an uncertain financial future. As formal pension plans become increasingly less common, many Canadians face a savings burden that many are unwilling – or unable – to shoulder.

* Part six: Steps to financial freedom
--- Freedom 55? Couple couldn’t wait that long for retirement
By John Heinzl
October 22, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions * Comments (84)
In a society that encourages consumers to borrow and spend, in which the pressure to upgrade homes, cars and gadgets never stops, living within one’s means and staying out of debt is a challenge. But for people who make a middle-class salary, the “boring” approach may be the surest route to building wealth and achieving financial security, say those who have done it.

* Part seven: Reforming a broken system
--- Canada's gathering pension storm
By Konrad Yakabuski
October 23, 2009
- incl. links to : * Article * Video * Photos * The history of pensions * Comments (36)
Italy may be one of the worst off, but all developed countries, along with China, will experience unprecedented economic and social pressure in coming decades as their populations grey. Few, if any, have prepared for the demographic tsunami that will hit them as the baby boom generation heads into its golden years. By comparison, Canadians have some reason to feel fiscally smug, with a public pension system considered one of the world’s most financially sustainable. There’s only one catch: That system pays among the least generous government-sponsored benefits in the developed world.

Source:
The Globe and Mail


From the
Special Senate Committee on Aging:

Canada’s Aging Population:
Seizing the Opportunity
(PDF - 1.4MB, 237 pages)
April 2009
In November 2006, the Special Senate Committee on Aging was created with a broad mandate to review a wide range of complex issues to determine if Canada is providing the right programs and services at the right time to the individuals who need them. The Committee has reviewed public programs and services for seniors, identified the gaps that exist in meeting their needs, and examined the implications for service delivery in the future as the population ages. [Excerpt from the Foreword]

* Recommendations
* Setting the Vision
* Background

Source:
Reports
(40th Parliament, 2nd Session: January 26, 2009 - )
of the
Special Senate Committee on Aging
[ Parliament of Canada website ]

Related link:

More federal assistance for seniors: Senate report
April 21, 2009
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - The federal government needs to do much more to assist the aging population, including beefing up pension, old age assistance and compassionate care benefits, says a new report. The final report of the special Senate committee on aging, released Tuesday, concludes there are serious gaps in health care, housing, transportation and support systems for seniors. And those problems are only going to grow as the baby boom generation enters the retirement years.
Source:
Yahoo Canada News


For links to information on Canadian
retirement pension reforms,
see the Retirement Pension Reforms page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/pensions.htm

From Statistics Canada:

Pension savings of Canadians
in 1993 and in 2003

- incl. total accumulated assets of Canadians (in current and constant 2003 dollars) invested in:
* Public plans * Registered pension plans (RPPs) * Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)
* Supplementary retirement income programs
Source:
Tables by subject: Employment insurance,
social assistance and other transfers
<=== links to six more tables
[ Statistics Canada ]

Related link:

A brief history of pensions.
Pay attention because you may be about to lose yours

August 1, 2009
By Thomas Walkom
The drive to dismantle the welfare state has a new target. Governments have already gutted unemployment insurance and social assistance. Out-of-date labour laws make it tough to organize unions in the new, decentralized, service-based economy. Now, thanks in large part to the dynamics of the recession, pensions are under attack. (...) Even before this recession hit, it was clear that pensions were under the gun. Good retirement benefits, like good wages, interfere with what economists call labour market flexibility – that is, the willingness of workers to take low-wage jobs.
Source:
The Toronto Star

-----------------------------

From Strategic Thoughts:

Canada Pension Plan Loss at $25 Billion
October 8, 2008
It will be February before we know how much the Canada Pension Plan recently lost on the stock market, but a fair guess is $25 billion disappeared between the end of the first quarter on June 30th and October 8th. On June 30th the CPP had $127.7 billion in assets, $79.2 billion of which was in equities. On June 30th the TSX composite index was 14,467; on October 8th it was 10,056, a drop of 30.5%.
Source:
Strategic Thoughts
[Website of BC political pundit David Schreck]

More strategic thoughts - from September and October 2008
[HINT : click the links for earlier months.]

---------------------------


Canadian government policy and seniors living in poverty

August 25, 2008
A blog post on the Progressive Economics Forum, "Falling Poverty Among the Elderly - A Canadian Success Story", describes how the poverty rate for seniors has fallen from 11.3% in 1989 to just 5.4% in 2006 (3.4% for elderly men, and 7.0% for elderly women.) This puts the average poverty rate for seniors in Canada lower than Sweden (6.6%) and way below the U.S. (21%). The author speculates that the senior poverty rate has fallen due to progressive social policies such as the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement, as well as high private pensions during the 1970s and 1980s. But poverty among seniors still disproportionately effects women, people of colour, immigrants and people with disabilities. A 2006 report from the National Advisory on Aging, Seniors on the Margins: Aging in poverty in Canada (see the link below) looks more seniors in the next decade, especially marginalized seniors, may not have access to the resources they need.
Source:
PovNet
An online resource for advocates, people on welfare, and community groups and individuals involved in anti-poverty work.

Related links:

Falling Poverty Among the Elderly - A Canadian Success Story
Posted by Andrew Jackson
August 7, 2008
Source:
Progressive Economics Forum Blog
[ other posts by Andrew Jackson ]
[ Progressive Economics Forum ]
The Progressive Economics Forum aims to promote the development of a progressive economics community in Canada. The PEF brings together over 125 progressive economists, working in universities, the labour movement, and activist research organizations. ]

Seniors on the Margins: Aging in poverty in Canada (PDF - 299K, 33 pages)
September 2005
Seniors on the Margins is a series of policy papers presenting NACA opinions and recommendations on the needs and concerns of seniors who are marginalized, or at risk of marginalization in Canadian society.
Source:
National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA)
NOTE: In May 2007, NACA was replaced by the National Seniors Council (see the link below). Despite all of the pontificating on accountability, transparency and disclosure that we hear from Canada's No-Longer-New Government, the NACA website ceased to exist when the Seniors Council was created. The above NACA link is from The Wayback Machine (Archive.org).
[ For more info about The Wayback Machine, go to the Reference Links page of this site http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/reference.htm ]

For more information on government policy and seniors see:

* National Seniors Council - advises Canada's Government on all matters related to the health, well-being and quality of life of seniors.
* Seniors Canada - Federal government information

From the Caledon Institute of Social Policy:

A Tale of Two Pension Plans:
The Differing Fortunes of the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans
(PDF file - 192K, 46 pages)
Ed Tamagno
January 2008
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) are headed towards an historical crossroads. The most recent actuarial valuation of the CPP shows that the federal scheme is sound in its financing and should remain financially sound for the foreseeable future, without the need for any increase in its contribution rate over the next 75 years. Not entirely so, however, for the QPP. Although the Quebec plan is in no imminent financial difficulty, its most recent actuarial valuation indicates that changes to the QPP’s financing or benefits must be made well before 2050 or the scheme will be unable to meet its commitments fully after that year. This paper examines the reasons for the divergence in the financial projections of the Canada and the Quebec Pension Plans and proposes ways in which the parallelism of the two schemes, which has been a mainstay of federal and provincial policy for over four decades, can be maintained.

---------------------------

From the Department of Finance Canada:

Canada Pension Plan Remains Strong for the Benefit of Canadian Seniors
News Release
October 29, 2007
The Canada Pension Plan is on a financially sustainable footing for at least the next 75 years, according to the 23rd Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan, which Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty tabled in Parliament today.

From the Office of the Chief Actuary, Canada Pension Plan:

Actuarial Report (23rd) on the Canada Pension Plan (PDF file - 799K, 132 pages)
As at December 31, 2006
Tabled before Parliament on October 29, 2007

Executive Summary (PDF file - 710K, 4 pages)
"...despite the projected substantial increase in benefits paid as a result of an aging population, the Plan is expected to be able to meet its obligations throughout the projection period [until 2075]."

Related link:

Pension funds in best shape in five years
Higher interest rates leave average fund in surplus position

October 24, 2007
Canadian pension funds are in the best financial shape they've been in more than five years, and have managed to build up a small surplus as a cushion against future setbacks, according to a report yesterday that credits higher interest rates for the improvement.
Source:
The Ottawa Citizen

Comment:
The next time the C.D. Howe Institute or Fraser Institute questions the sustainability of the Canada Pensions Plan and suggests that we need to dump or overhaul the program, just remember:
Office of the Chief Actuary = unbiased, responsible to the people of Canada.
Right wing think tanks = bias, accountable to the corporations that fund them.

-------------------------------------------------------

Review Finds Canada Pension Plan Is Financially Sound
News release
June 27, 2006
"Federal and provincial Ministers of Finance, as joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), today announced the conclusion of their triennial financial review of the CPP. The review confirms that the CPP is on sound financial footing. "Our analysis suggests that the 9.9 per cent contribution rate will be sufficient to sustain the Plan into the foreseeable future," stated the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance. "We have therefore agreed that the contribution rate will remain unchanged." By providing over 3 million retired Canadians with maximum benefits of up to $844 per month, the CPP represents a key pillar of Canada’s retirement income system. With assets projected to grow to $250 billion in the next 10 years, the Plan has been recognized internationally as an affordable model for securing adequate retirement income in the face of population aging and economic change."
- incl a backgrounder "Proposed Changes to the Canada Pension Plan"
Source:
Department of Finance Canada

Canada Pension Plan Pensionable Earnings Ceiling for 2006 up to $42,100
November 2, 2005
- includes, for 2006, maximum pensionable earnings, the basic exemption and employer/employee contribution rates
Source:
Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Pension Plan Financially Sound: Chief Actuary
December 8, 2004
News Release
"The Canada Pension Plan is financially sound for at least the next half century at the currently legislated 9.9-per-cent contribution rate, according to the 21st Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan, which was tabled in Parliament today by Minister of Finance Ralph Goodale."
Source:
Finance Canada

Related Links:

Actuarial Report (21st) on the Canada Pension Plan
As at 31 December 2003
Tabled before Parliament on December 8, 2004
(posted December 8, 2004)
Executive Summary (PDF file - 24K, 3 pages)
Report without Appendices (PDF file - 706K, 47 pages)
Complete Report (PDF file - 972K, 128 pages)
Source:
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada Pension Plan - Statute
Canada Pension Plan Regulations
Source:
Department of Justice

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Federal-Provincial Review of The Canada Pension Plan
News Release
January 9, 2003
"The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is financially sound and is on track to provide retirement pensions in the future, federal and provincial ministers of finance announced today following the conclusion of their financial review of the CPP."

Backgrounder
Source:
Finance Canada

Hidden agenda behind the attack on the CPP: study
Press Release
February 14, 2001
Critics of Canada's public pension system are engaging in scare tactics, a prominent pension expert charges. In a new study Pensions Under Attack: What's behind the push to privatize public pensions, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, independent economist Monica Townson says talk of a "demographic time bomb" and inter-generational warfare over pensions are deliberate attempts to undermine public confidence in the Canada Pension Plan.
Source :
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A Primer on Federal Social Security Contributions (Canada)
By Philippe Bergevin, Economics Division
14 June 2011
HTML version
PDF version (187K, 10 pages)
"Social security contributions are increasingly recognized by governments as an important source of revenues with which to finance expenditures on social security programs, such as government-sponsored pension plans and employment insurance programs. In Canada, social security contributions at the federal level – contributions to the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans and employment insurance premiums – totalled $39 billion in 2005-2006..."
Table of Contents:
* Overview (Employment Insurance - Canada/Quebec Pension Plan) * Pros and Cons (Equity - Efficiency - Administration and Compliance) * International Context

Source:
[ Parliament of Canada ]

The Social Security Debate in the United States
18 August 2005
By Marc LeBlanc, Economics Division
[PDF version - 111K, 19 pages]

Table of Contents:

* Introduction
* Origins and Development of Social Security in the United States
--- Origins
--- Key Developments
*Current Systems
* Proposed Reforms
* The Social Security Debate
--- Is Social Security in Crisis?
--- Personal Savings Accounts
------ Ownership
------ Investment
------ Transition Costs
--- Addressing Social Security’s Actuarial Deficit
------ Increase Revenue
------ Decrease Benefits
--- The Need for Political Consensus
* The Canadian Experience
* Conclusion

Source:
Parliamentary Information and Research Service Publications <<<=== Check this out - links to 400 studies!
[ Parliament of Canada ]

U.S. Social Security Reform Resources (in reverse chronological order)


U.S.

POVERTY DISPATCH (Institute for Research on Poverty - U. of Wisconsin)
Updated twice a week!
Links to full-text articles in the U.S. media (mostly daily newspapers) on poverty, health, welfare reform, education, hunger, etc.

Misguided Social Security ‘Reform’
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/opinion/sunday/misguided-social-security-reform.html
Editorial
January 12, 2013

At the end of last year, just shy of the 11th hour in the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama made an offer that included a Republican-backed idea to cut spending by lowering the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits. The move shocked Congressional Democrats and dismayed Mr. Obama’s liberal base. The offer, however, was rejected by House Republicans who could not stomach the tax increases and other concessions that Mr. Obama demanded as part of the deal. The talks moved on, and when all was said and done, Republicans did not get the lower cost-of-living adjustments (known as COLAs) and Mr. Obama did not get the concessions he had sought.

But that is not the end of the story. As the next round of deficit reduction talks gets under way, the administration seems determined to include the COLA cut in any new package of spending reductions. Rather than using the issue as a bargaining ploy, the administration appears to have embraced it as a worthy end in itself.

Is it? In a word, no.

[ 9 comments about this article : http://goo.gl/WC94P ]

Source:
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Policy Basics:
Top Ten Facts about Social Security on the Program's 75th Anniversary
August 13, 2010
“[Social Security] remains one of the nation’s most successful, effective, and popular programs. It provides a foundation of income on which workers can build to plan for their retirement. It also provides valuable social insurance protection to workers who become disabled and to families whose breadwinner dies.”

View the full report:
HTML : http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3261
PDF : http://www.cbpp.org/files/PolicyBasics_SocSec-TopTen.pdf (172K, 8 pages)

---

What the Trustees’ Report Shows about Social Security
By Kathy Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water
August 13, 2010
“On August 5, the Social Security Board of Trustees issued the 70th annual report on the program’s financial and actuarial status. The trustees’ report shows some mild deterioration in the program’s short-term outlook — a finding that was widely expected — and a mild improvement in its long-run finances, thanks largely to the recent enactment of health reform.”

View the full report:
HTML : http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3262
PDF : http://www.cbpp.org/files/8-13-10socsec.pdf ( 240K, 6 pages)

---

Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans
Out of Poverty: A State-By-State Analysis

Paul N. Van de Water and Arloc Sherman
August 11, 2010
(...) Although most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1.1 million children. Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly.

Source:
Center on Budget Policy and Priorities
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is one of the nation’s premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. The Center conducts research and analysis to help shape public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals in these debates. We also develop policy options to alleviate poverty

--------------------------------------------

Related links:

With Obama address, Democrats revive specter of GOP threat to Social Security
By Michael D. Shear and Lori Montgomery
August 15, 2010
Reviving a political tactic that Democrats have used before, President Obama said in his radio address Saturday that "some Republican leaders in Congress" want to privatize Social Security -- even though few GOP lawmakers today support the idea.
Source:
Social Security - A washingtonpost.com special report detailing the debate over proposed changes to Social Security, the nation's largest entitlement program.
- also includes links to :
* A Glimpse of Older America
* Aging Population Poses Challenges
*
more similar articles...
Source:
Washington Post

The White House Blog:

Weekly Address: Honoring Social Security, Not Privatizing It
Video
Transcript
Posted August 14, 2010
Source:
The White House Blog
[ The White House ]

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Review of international pension reform, (PDF - 471K, 131 pages)
June 2010
By S. Collard and N. Moore
Source:
Department for Work and Pensions, London, Research report, n° 663, June, 131 p., (2010).
The eight case study countries selected for inclusion in this review were:
Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Uruguay
Excerpt (p.15):
The key implementation challenges faced by some of the case study countries were the protracted length of the legislative process, opposition from stakeholders and the logistics of setting up and running a new or reformed pension system. Three main conclusions seem to flow from the experience of case study countries with regard to pension reform implementation: First, pension arrangements are both complex and critical for individuals and society as a whole. Changes ideally need to be debated thoroughly with the stakeholders involved, such as employees, employers and the pension industry. This takes time, but the benefits of building a consensus around the proposed changes are considerable. Secondly, unless existing systems can be used, it takes time to establish appropriate and robust administrative systems. The more complex the system and the greater the volume of business, the longer is the time required. Finally, three quite different sets of stakeholders need to be managed: individuals, both potential contributors and those who will be excluded from the scheme; employers; and the providers of pensions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Top Ten Facts on Social Security's 70th Anniversary
by Jason Furman
Revised August 11, 2005
PDF version of this report (57K, 5 pages)
"President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, which established a basic compact between generations: younger workers would contribute payroll taxes, and retired workers would have a more secure retirement. Presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan have signed landmark Social Security reforms to expand Social Security to provide disability insurance (1954), index Social Security benefits so people would not become poorer as they grew older (1972), and reform Social Security to add decades to its life (1983). As Social Security approaches its 70th anniversary on August 14, 2005, it remains one of the most successful and effective, as well as one of the most popular, of government programs. It provides a universal benefit that is progressive and lifts millions of people out of poverty. It also provides extremely valuable social insurance, providing payments to those who need them most — including workers who become disabled, families whose breadwinner dies, dependent spouses, and retirees who live to a very old age and outlive their assets. (...) As policymakers contemplate changes in Social Security, they should keep in mind 10 important facts about the program:
Fact #1: About half of the elderly have incomes that, without Social Security, leave them below the poverty line. Social Security lifts 13 million elderly Americans above the poverty line.
Fact #2: Social Security does more to reduce poverty among children than any other government program.
Fact #3: Social Security is more than just a retirement program: one-third of Social Security beneficiaries receive survivors benefits or disability insurance benefits. 10 million beneficiaries are adults below the age of 65, and 4 million are children.
Fact #4: For two-thirds of the elderly, Social Security provides the majority of their income. For one-third of the elderly, it provides nearly all of their income.
Fact #5: Social Security provides benefits to 48 million Americans, with the average beneficiary receiving $10,500 per year.
Fact #6: Social Security is especially beneficial for women.
Fact #7: Social Security is particularly important for African Americans.
Fact #8: Social Security provides an especially good deal for Hispanics.
Fact #9: Social Security provides a progressive benefit that keeps up with increases in the cost of living.
Fact #10: Social Security is an extremely efficient program, with administrative costs equaling only 0.6 percent of retirement and survivors benefits."

Source:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
"...one of the leading organizations in the country working on fiscal policy issues and issues affecting low- and moderate-income families and individuals. The Center specializes in research and analysis oriented toward policy decisions that policymakers face at both federal and state levels. The Center examines data and research findings and produces analyses designed to be accessible to public officials, other non-profit organizations, and the media."

See also (from CBPP):

Putting the Social Security Debate in Context
- incl. links to : An Introduction to Social Security - The President’s Social Security Plan - Other Social Security Proposals - Social Security Solvency - Accomplishments of Social Security - Social Security by the Numbers

The Saver's Credit:
Expanding Retirement Savings for Middle- and Lower-Income Americans
- U.S.
March 2005
"(Enacted in 2001, the Saver's Credit ... provides a government matching contribution, in the form of a nonrefundable tax credit, for voluntary individual contributions to 401(k)-type plans, IRAs, and similar retirement savings arrangements. Like traditional retirement savings plan subsidies, the Saver's Credit currently provides no benefit for households that owe no federal income tax. However, for households that owe income tax, the effective match rate in the Saver's Credit is higher for those with lower income, the opposite of the incentive structure created by traditional pension tax preferences."

Complete report:

The Saver’s Credit:
Expanding Retirement Savings for Middle and Lower-Income Americans
(PDF file - 188K, 24 pages)

Source:
Retirement Security Project
"The Retirement Security Project is dedicated to promoting common sense solutions to improve the retirement income prospects of millions of American workers. It is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and the Brookings Institution."

Google.ca Web Search Results: "Saver's Credit"
Google.ca News Search Results: "Saver's Credit"

Source:
Google.ca

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Columbia Research Group Warns Against Ignoring Children in Social Security Debate
News Release
February 24, 2005
"Social Security is the single largest support program for children in the United States Although Social Security is the single largest program that provides support to American children, the debate over privatization has focused almost entirely on changes in benefits for retirees. (...) While it is true that retirees and their spouses are the largest block of beneficiaries from the program, over 5 million children in the United States benefit from Social Security, either directly as beneficiaries or indirectly as members of households that receive a monthly Social Security check. Of the 48 million people who currently receive Social Security benefits, one in three is not a retiree; one in 15 is a child under the age of 18."

Full Report:
Whose Security? What Social Security Means to Children and Families (PDF file - 90K, 10 pages)

Source:
National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) - New York

Related NCCP Links:

New Policy Brief and Fact Sheet on Social Security and Children
"Although most discussions of Social Security focus on its retirement benefits, the program is more accurately described as a family insurance program. Social Security is the primary, if not the only, source of life and disability insurance for many U.S. families, especially those headed by younger workers. Social Security is responsible for keeping many middle- and low-income children from falling into poverty when a parent dies or becomes disabled."

Questions for policymakers on Social Security and Children
"...questions policymakers should consider before proposing changes in the program that would affect the children and spouses of deceased workers, and disabled workers and their families."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From The White House:

State of the Union Address
February 2, 2005
- incl. links to all related material

Text of the Address

On the subject of Social Security:
Saving Social Security for America 's Future Generations

More on the Bush plan concerning Social Security (from The White House website)

Counterpoint:

State of the Union: Key Policy Points
February 3, 2005
- President Tries to Have It Both Ways: Using Misleading Numbers About A Social Security Crisis While Advancing A Plan That Would Make Matters Worse
- New Details Indicate Administration Social Security Plan Would Entail Several Trillion Dollars in Borrowing
- Details From the President on Private Accounts Not Likely To Answer Key Questions
- The Administration’s Misleading $600 Billion Estimate of the Cost of Waiting To Act on Social Security
- Overview of Other Social Security, Tax Cut, and Deficit Issues in the State of the Union
Source:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Related Link:

State of the Union Archive
- earlier years, right back to Truman (1945)
Source:
C-Span

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slashing Social Security: Bush Plan Cuts Benefits
January 11, 2005
"President Bush and certain members of Congress have made it clear that privatizing Social Security is at the top of their agenda for 2005. The administration is likely to advocate for Reform Plan 2 from the 2001 Report of the President's Commission; this plan makes severe cuts to Social Security benefits. Social Security is a successful insurance program that protects workers and their families against the income loss that occurs when a worker retires, becomes disabled, or dies. Privatization risks this program’s success and endangers the many individuals who rely on its funds for survival"
Source:
Moving Ideas

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How has Britain’s privatization scheme worked out? Well, today, they’re looking enviably upon Social Security
February 2005 issue of American Prospect Online
"A conservative government sweeps to power for a second term. It views its victory as a mandate to slash the role of the state. In its first term, this policy objective was met by cutting taxes for the wealthy. Its top priority for its second term is tackling what it views as an enduring vestige of socialism: its system of social insurance for the elderly. Declaring the current program unaffordable in 50 years’ time, the administration proposes the privatization of a portion of old-age benefits. In exchange for giving up some future benefits, workers would get a tax rebate to put into an investment account to save for their own retirement. George W. Bush’s America in 2005? Think again. The year was 1984, the nation was Britain, the government was that of Margaret Thatcher -- and the results have been a disaster that America is about to emulate."
Source:
American Prospect Online

More American Prospect Social Security Coverage:

Bush's House of Cards: The Privatization Fraud
A Prospect Special Report

- links to over a dozen articles on the Bush administration's Social Security privatization proposals
To access this report, go to the American Prospect Online home page and click on the Special Report: Saving Social Security link in the left margin

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Really Dumb Idea
November 2004
You can sum up Social Security privatization in four words.
By Robert Reich

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Social Security privatization - from Disinfopedia
"U.S. Social Security privatization is top of the neo-conservative agenda, following the reelection of George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election. Central to the campaign is an effort to persuade US voters that the existing Social Security system is 'in crisis' [1] (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002146127_socsec09.html). Meanwhile, Bush's allies at Fox News have been attacking AARP, which just happens to oppose privatization of the system [2] (http://www.newshounds.us/2005/01/06/demonizing_aarp.php). AARP has been in the administration's sights since at least early 2004, when an organization with a misleadingly similar acronym, the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity or ARP, was launched by Republican stalwarts."

Social Security - Public Agenda Issue Guide
"Social Security, the federal retirement system, is one of the most popular government programs in U.S. history and nearly everyone supports keeping it solvent. But no consensus has emerged, either in Washington or among the public at large, on what approach the government should take.
Despite the recent slowdown, the economic boom of the past few years has helped push off the Social Security problem, with the latest estimates showing the fund able to pay its bills through 2042."
Source:
Public Agenda
"For over a quarter of a century, Public Agenda has been providing unbiased and unparalleled research that bridges the gap between American leaders and what the public really thinks about issues ranging from education to foreign policy to immigration to religion and civility in American life."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Confusions about Social Security (PDF file - 195K, 11 pages)
Paul Krugman (Princeton University)
January 2005
"There is a lot of confusion in the debate over Social Security privatization, much of it deliberate. This essay discusses the meaning of the trust fund, which privatizers declare either real or fictional at their convenience; the likely rate of return on private accounts, which has been greatly overstated; and the (ir)relevance of putative reductions in far future liabilities."
Source:
The Economists' Voice - U.S.
(Editor: Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate and former Chief Economist of the World Bank)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Twelve Reasons Why Privatizing Social Security is a Bad Idea
December 14, 2004
"Addressing Social Security’s potential long-term financing challenges by taking the dramatic step of diverting its payroll taxes to create new personal accounts will have drastic consequences for federal finances, future retirees, and those who rely on the system the most. Learn more about twelve major reasons why less costly and less painful reforms should be considered instead."
Source:
The Social Security Network
[ The Century Foundation ]

Related Links:

Social Security Administration (U.S. Government)
"Visit the Social Security Administration Web site for publications and online resources to help you understand your Social Security benefits, how to apply for benefits, and the history of the Social Security program. You can also apply for benefits online."

Social Security Online
"The Social Security Administration's Web site provides information about Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income.

AARP Social Security Center
[AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people over 50.]
"AARP maintains a special Social Security Center on its Web site. Visit the center to test your knowledge and find answers to some commonly asked questions about Social Security. You can also learn about issues and challenges facing Social Security, and you can tell your elected officials what you think about Social Security."

Four questions (and answers) from AARP
- Is Social Security Broke?
- Will Social Security be there for me when I retire?
- Couldn't I do better investing the money on my own?
- But aren't I paying a lot of money now to get a little money later?

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Economic Policy Institute

----------------------------------------------------
Conservative/Libertarian Counterpoint:
----------------------------------------------------

Project on Social Security Choice
"The Cato Project on Social Security Choice has developed a market-based alternative to the current Social Security system. Rather than paying taxes into a government-owned fund, workers should be allowed to redirect their payroll taxes into individually owned, invested accounts, similar to 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts."
Source:
The Cato Institute
["The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace."]

The Heritage Foundation
"The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."




The Chilean Pension Model

What do pensions in Chile have to do with Canadian social programs?
It's all about the push toward private retirement pensions and the movement to dismantle the Canada Pension Plan..

"When Augusto Pinochet ascended to power in Chile in 1973, for political and personal reasons, he allowed a group of men trained at the University of Chicago School of Business to assume control of economic planning and administration. These men were disciples of the neo-liberal, neo-classical theories of Milton Friedman and earned the name, the "Chicago Boys." With missionary zeal, they imposed neo-liberalism on Chile’s economic policies from 1975 to 1989. Nowhere in history has this economic philosophy been pursued to the extent found in Chile during these years. The performance of the economy of Chile during the tenure of the Chicago Boys has been termed a "miracle," but the analyses on which this term have typically been based, however, are from periods of economic expansions that followed economic contractions. Analysis of the data from the entire span of the Chicago Boys’ influence does not reveal dramatic growth in the economy. Scions of the middle and upper classes, these men possessed little compassion for the masses, and many segments of the population of Chile, in fact, suffered economic losses during this time. The years of gain could not make up for the losses incurred during the preceding years of depression-like conditions. To advocate Chile as a model for ideal development in the Third World would require discounting many of the negative ramifications of the economic policies of the Pinochet regime. The Chilean experience demonstrates the limits of neo-liberalism and, more importantly, illustrates the failure of the zealous and inflexible application of economic theories to government."
Source:
An Analysis of Chilean Economic and Socioeconomic Policy: 1975-1989*
Sherman Souther
University of Colorado at Boulder
May 1998
*as at January 9, 2005, this link is dead.
I'm leaving it in because I like the excerpt.

Google News search Results : "pensions, Chile, reform"
Google Web Search Results : "pensions, Chile, reform"
Source:
Google.ca

Compare the conservative and liberal views from the selections below to see the pros and cons of privatized retirement pensions that some Canadians want to see in place of the Canada Pension  Plan.


Views from the Right
Fair Pensions for Future Generations (pdf)
Source: Canadian Taxpayers Federation

International Center for Pension Reform
Founded by José Piñera to promote
the reform of government-run pension
systems along the Chilean model
of private Retirement Savings Accounts.

Chile’s Private Pension System at 18:
Its Current State and Future Challenges
by L. Jacobo Rodríguez
Source: Cato Institute
July 30, 1999
Project on Social Security Privatization
at the Cato Institute
Team NCPA
("an all-volunteer network of concerned citizens dedicated to fixing Social Security")
from the National Center for Policy Analysis

Views from the Left

The Threat to Public Pensions
January 30, 2002
- presentation given by pension expert and author Monica Townson to seniors in Toronto.
- sponsored by the Ontario Society (Coalition) of Senior Citizens' Organizations and Canadian Pensioners Concerned, Ontario Division.

Hidden agenda behind the attack on the CPP: study
Press Release
February 14, 2001
Critics of Canada's public pension system are engaging in scare tactics, a prominent pension expert charges. In a new study, Pensions Under Attack: What's behind the push to privatize public pensions, independent economist Monica Townson says talk of a "demographic time bomb" and inter-generational warfare over pensions are deliberate attempts to undermine public confidence in the Canada Pension Plan.
Source : Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

EPI work on Social Security
"EPI's Issue Guide on Social Security, revised in February 2005, includes an introduction to Social Security, frequently asked questions about Social Security privatization, links to other organizations' research and more."
Source:
Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
"The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy."

The Social Security Network (U.S)


Related Link:

Benefits Canada
Pension Investment and Employee Benefits

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