Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will use a government-commissioned survey on pension reform to kick-start a discussion with fellow premiers Thursday – and make her case for them to take the lead on the issue.
The Ekos survey, obtained by The Globe and Mail, finds that only 15 per cent of Canadians are “very confident” they will have enough money to retire “comfortably” compared with 29 per cent who are “somewhat concerned” and 21 per cent who are “very concerned.”
In addition, 69 per cent of Canadians believe the federal government should take the lead in ensuring “Canadians can retire – either through savings programs or income supports.”
Ms. Wynne shared the results of the survey – Canadian Perceptions of Pension Reform and Retirement Security – earlier this week with the other premiers and will use it in Thursday’s discussion about pensions, according to a senior Ontario official.
The survey notes that “Canadians view pension enhancements as an investment not harmful to the economy.” This contrasts with Ottawa’s position – last December, the provincial finance ministers met with then-federal finance minister Jim Flaherty. Pension reform was discussed but was dismissed by Mr. Flaherty. The federal government’s position was that the economy was still weak and it wasn’t the time to increase CPP contributions.
But, according to the survey, 63 per cent of Canadians believe that “increasing premiums is an investment in achieving a more secure retirement …” It also found 55 per cent of respondents want provinces and territories to “pursue their own supplementary pension plans in the absence of federal leadership on the CPP.”
In last spring’s provincial election, Ms. Wynne campaigned on pension reform – vowing to bring in her “made in Ontario” pension after the federal government refused to enhance the CPP.
“I have said all along that I am more than open, I would be thrilled, if the federal government decided that they wanted to enhance the Canada Pension Plan,” Ms. Wynne said in an interview with the The Globe. “That’s always been our first choice and I’ll bring that to the table. But I will also make it clear that we are going to go ahead.”
She said that her government is getting ready to implement the new policy for January, 2017.
“I will continue to raise it as an example of an issue that I think should be taken up by the federal government …,” she said, adding that it would be in the “best interests of all of the provinces” if the Ottawa was involved.