TORONTO, ON – The IATSE is proud to have been part of the fight that led to changes being made to the Canada Pension Plan. The Canadian Labour Congress has been calling for a doubling of benefits since 2009. While these changes don’t represent a doubling, they do represent real progress on retirement security for the next generation of Canadian workers. Legislation dictates that two-thirds of the provinces representing at least two-thirds of the population must be in agreement before this type of national change can be made. Quebec (which has its own pension plan) and Manitoba did not sign on, though the two provinces will continue to be part of the process.
Once fully implemented, maximum annual benefits will increase by about one-third, from approximately $12,000 to $16,000 annually. This will be achieved by incremental increases to both employer and employee contributions, phased in over nine years. In order to help Canadians with the increased contributions, the government will also be introducing two measures; an enhancement of the federal Working Income Tax Benefit to assist low-income workers, and a tax deduction—instead of a tax credit—for employee contributions associated with the enhanced portion of CPP. The new plan is intended to replace 33% of average pre-retirement income, up significantly from the current CPP replacement rate of 25%.
Unions have been urging the government to increase CPP benefits and ensure that seniors are not retiring in poverty. This is not a fight that the union movement has taken on for the benefit of its members—as most union agreements contain pension contributions—but for all Canadian workers. International Vice President John Lewis commented, “The IATSE understands that we all have a role to play in ensuring seniors can retire with some dignity. That is why we established a national retirement plan for our members and why we support increased benefits for all Canadians through the CPP.”