Government must put the retirement security of Albertans ahead of CFIB fearmongering – AFL

Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan is the most efficient and effective way to ensure the financial security of Albertans in their old age

Edmonton – The Government of Alberta should not waver from its commitment to supporting an expanded Canada Pension Plan.

On Tuesday, February 23, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci is set to meet with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. In a press release from the CFIB, the business group revealed that their main goal was to oppose an expansion of the CPP.

“We have a looming retirement crisis which will only get worse as fewer employers provide pension plans,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “These business lobbyists are just using the recession as an excuse not to do what needs to be done.”

The Canada Pension Plan is the most economical and effective tool for improving the retirement security of the majority of Canadians who don’t have workplace pensions.

“The lies that the CFIB are spreading about the Canada Pension Plan are the exact same ones that were used by opponents of the CPP told 50 years ago when the plan was launched, and in the 1990s when it was expanded,” McGowan said. “It was malarkey then and it’s malarkey now.”

The current caps on contributions were put into place 50 years ago when the majority of Canadians had workplace pensions, and the CPP was used to supplement those pensions. Today, however, fewer than 30 per cent of Alberta workers have a workplace pension plan – the lowest rate in the country. At the same time, only about 38 per cent of Albertans contribute to RRSPs, and the median contribution is only $3,200 per year.

“The Canada Pension Plan needs to be expanded to account for today’s reality,” McGowan said. “It needs to be doubled. And no amount of fearmongering from far-right activists should deter our government from looking out for working Albertans.”

McGowan notes that because the CPP keeps seniors out of poverty, and makes sure they can keep spending in their retirement years, it actually stabilizes the economy. Additionally, because it defers income to a point in our lives when we need it most, it reduces the burden on social services.

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Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail

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