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Majority backs expanding Canada Pension Plan, poll finds

Public-sector union leaders and retirees stage a sit-in at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's constituency office in Whitby, Ont., on Dec. 17, 2010.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Proposals to expand the Canada Pension Plan are far more popular than the latest government plans for a new private-sector option, according to a new Environics survey conducted for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty originally supported the idea of increasing premiums over time to pay for higher CPP benefits, however he announced in December he did not have enough provincial support to move ahead.

Instead, Mr. Flaherty secured the provinces' support for a new pooled pension plan that would be managed by private-sector firms. Talks are currently underway to negotiate the details.

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Public sector unions, including CUPE and the Canadian Labour Congress, oppose the new plan and prefer an expanded CPP.

According to the survey, 76 per cent of respondents support increasing CPP benefits and 51 per cent oppose the current federal approach to delay CPP reform in favour of a private pooled pension plan.

The survey also found 81 per cent of respondents agreed it is important that retirement security be debated in the next federal election.

NDP Leader Jack Layton has included enhanced CPP benefits among a list of NDP demands for the federal budget in March.

The survey of 1,001 Canadians was conducted between Jan. 6 and Jan. 11. It has an error margin of plus/minus 3.2 per cent, 19 out of 20.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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