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CPP reform tops agenda as finance ministers meet

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa speaks to journalists before the start of a meeting with federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers at Meech Lake in Chelsea, Quebec

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Canada's finance ministers begin two days of meetings today, and pension issues are expected to dominate the discussions.

Some provincial ministers have been pressing federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to take steps to boost the Canada Pension Plan to ensure seniors have adequate income.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has said he'll look at proposals for his province to proceed on its own if the federal government doesn't act.

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Sousa says the province has a critical mass of people to support what he calls "made-in-Ontario opportunities."

Most CPP enhancement proposals call for roughly a doubling of the maximum annual CPP benefit above the current $12,150.

It would mean increased premiums, as much as double for high income earners.

The premiums are split equally between workers and employers, something that doesn't sit well with business groups.

One proposal under consideration would see annual benefits rise to $23,400 from the current $12,150, while maximum contributions are increased to $4,681 from $2,356. However, the maximum pensionable earnings would also receive a big boost to $102,000 from the current $51,000.

The Harper government has said CPP premiums are a job-discouraging payroll tax.

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