Harper government's voluntary CPP plan found little support


Canadians gave a big thumbs-down to the Harper administration’s surprise proposal last year to let workers make voluntary contributions to the Canada Social security Plan, a newly disclosed document suggests.

Joe Oliver, then resources minister, made the abrupt policy reversal on May 26 in the House of Commons, reassuring consultations with experts and stakeholders.

Finance Canada tched together an online consultation pre re beginning July 13, asking eight questions and inviting Canadians to react using a de rtmental email address by Sept. 10.

The Conservatives had firmly rejected a discretional CPP scheme as far back as 2010. But faced with an October federal choice, and with two opposition rties promising CPP benefit increases, the about-face added a superannuation plank to the Tory platform.

Only 47 stakeholders and individuals sent in answers to the online consultation, with 26 against any voluntary CPP scheme, 17 in grace and four offering no opinion, says a heavily censored Oct. 6 briefing note.

Amidst the 25 submissions from stakeholders, none of whom are identified, there was crushing opposition to Oliver’s idea. Seventeen were opposed, six were in champion and two did not say.

Create confusion?

“Many of the submissions received raised concerns kindred to whether another voluntary option is needed and whether such an opportunity could be costly to administer,” says the note, obtained by CBC Newscast under the Access to Information Act.

Keith Ambachtsheer, Canadian pension expert and author

Pension expert and author Keith Ambachtsheer buzzed Oliver’s voluntary CPP proposal a lot of ‘smoke.’ (researchaffiliates.com)

“Many of those who were against it commended a mandatory ex nsion and/or enhanced financial literacy and promotion of existing appraisals instead.… The general view was that another voluntary savings estimate is not needed and could create confusion.”

The 22 individuals who answered the consultation were minor extent in favour, with 11 supporting Oliver’s proposal, nine checked and two offering no opinion. “The majority of the individuals against a voluntary addition were in favour of mandatory ex nsion,” says the note, treated for deputy minister ul Rochon.

Seeking consensus

The Trudeau authority has promised to work with the provinces to beef up the Canada Pension Diagram, but a key finance ministers meeting in December failed to reach consensus, put id to only with a promise of more study. Ottawa needs the concord of seven provinces, including Quebec, representing two-thirds of the country’s residents, to enact reforms to CPP.

The Conservative government and the Canadian Federation of Independent Corporation, among others, railed against proposals for mandatory increases to CPP, vocation them a tax on jobs and citing claims by Finance Canada of up to 70,000 careers killed under various schemes.

‘The voluntary thing from Oliver was not in any degree going to work.’ — Pension expert and author Keith Ambachtsheer

But spokeswomen question the job-loss math, saying that the economy can absorb regular, phased premium hikes as it did between 1997 and 2003, when a sphere of significant CPP premium hikes coincided with a drop in the jobless figure.

The Canada Pension Plan, created in 1965, was intended to supplement employees’ com ny pensions and private savings. It currently ys out a maximum of $13,110 annually, stationed on the number years of mandatory contributions, split equally between craftsmen and employers.

But in the last two decades, many firms have reduced or erased their own plans, raising questions about whether Canada’s central class can retire as securely as a previous generation.

Pension expert Keith Ambachtsheer castigated Oliver’s announcement last year a lot of “smoke.”

“The voluntary thing from Oliver was conditions going to work,” Ambachtsheer, an author and pension consultant, stipulate from Toronto. “Of course there wasn’t going to be any take-up.”

Ontario scenario called ‘ground zero’

“Canada already has lots of voluntary opportunities. Why do we need another? To materially increase workplace pension coverage, it has to be obligatory.”

Ambachtsheer says he was not one of the 47 respondents to the online consultation.

After lacking to persuade the Harper government to improve the CPP, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne intimated a provincial plan to be in place by Jan. 1, 2017, called the Ontario Retirement Superannuation Plan.

Wynne Marijuana 20151214

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne launched the Ontario Retirement Allotment Plan after the Harper government rejected improvement to Canada Superannuation Plan benefits.

Still a work in progress, the Ontario plan would demand mandatory employer-employee contributions unless a com ny already provides a com rable retirement aid to its workers.

Ambachtsheer calls the ORPP “ground zero” for discussion wide secure retirements for Canadian workers, because “we are years away from perchance reaching some national consensus as to how to increase workplace coverage on a nationalistic basis.”

He said there should be more private-sector pension envisage options for Ontario com nies, to provide more competition to the ORPP.

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Opposing CPP enhancements6:29

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