Pension security for all is an election issue

Pension security is a demand Canadians put forward at nearly every door MLPC candidates visit in this election. They are often asked how the MLPC would sort out this issue.
The MLPC explains that the government through enabling legislation should defend the pensions Canadians have and introduce pensions for all. State organized and guaranteed pensions are a universal right of the modern era. Everyone is born to society and works for the economy as a whole, not an extended family. In return for their work, Canadians rely on the economy as a whole to guarantee their right to a Canadian standard of living from birth to passing away.

Canadians work in a socialized economy whether they sell their capacity to work or work for themselves in a business. No matter what the size, all businesses are a part of the economy as a whole and depend on the economy for their existence and stability.

The block to fulfilling the right to pensions comes from the big companies and their political representatives. Canadians through their political work for renewal and by putting themselves into government can deprive the big companies and their political representatives of their power to block the right to pensions for all.
A first step in this new direction for the economy would be to reinstate all public and private pensions Canadians had prior to the economic crisis of 2008. All negative changes or proposals to weaken pensions such as the elimination of indexing, conversion from defined-benefit plans to target or defined-contribution plans, or downgrading in any way through bankruptcy protection or other means would be reversed through enabling legislation.

No excuse to interfere with the defence of existing pensions would be tolerated. This is not only a just position in defence of rights but also a way to put pressure on big companies and their political representatives to stop their opposition to universal public pensions for all. Working together using the strength of the economy as a whole is much better and more efficient than doing it piecemeal through individual companies or various levels of government. Big companies must be dragged into the modern era whether they like it or not.

The other big battle is to guarantee pension security for all through a universal state-organized system using the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans as a start but giving them a new direction. The political authority would immediately reform the existing public plans to raise the minimum pension to a Canadian standard without exception, and gradually eliminate savings as the source of pension benefits to be replaced with a claim on the economy in the present.

These reforms would be coupled with other social programs to ensure pensioners live their lives with all the material, social, cultural, and recreational amenities necessary for a modern existence wherein seniors can continue to contribute to society and the economy in many ways to the best of their abilities.

The revenue necessary to defend the pensions Canadians have and to guarantee pensions for all should come from a publicly enforced claim of pensioners on produced value from the economy in the present and not from savings. The concept of savings as a source for pensions is a trick of the big companies both to control the savings funds for themselves and to deny that the economy in the present has the social obligation and capacity to meet the needs of all retired workers.

Pensions are an expression of social solidarity amongst generations and a universal right of the modern era.

Harper Conservatives Target Pensions Again

– Public Service Alliance of Canada (Excerpts) –

The Federal Government is in the process of drafting legislation representing an unprecedented attack on the retirement security of all Canadians. If the Conservatives are re-elected and push through this legislation, the defined benefit pension plans of federally-regulated workers will be at risk of being converted to target plans with lower pension benefits for both retirees and active employees.

Significant incentives would be provided to employers to get rid of the much better defined benefit plans and convert these to targeted pension plans. This will be at the expense of stable retirement income that workers have already paid for through their pension contributions.

What Are Target Pension Plans?

– Reduce pension benefits for both contributing employees and pensioners
– No guarantee the promised benefit will be maintained in retirement
– Risk is completely shifted from governments and corporations to vulnerable employees


– In 2014, the government announced a rushed consultation process on target benefit pension plans for federally-regulated workers. – In 2015, the government tabled a budget saying they are “assessing” voluntary target benefit options for Crown Corporations.
– Any proposed change would require the amendment of federal pension laws.


Is the Federal Public Service Pension Plan the Next “Target”?

– The introduction of target pension plans in the federal sector opens the door to other legislative changes and puts all defined benefit pension plans at risk.

(September 23, 2015)

Source: Renewal UpdateOctober 12, 2015 • No. 189


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