Flaherty: No consensus, but ’modest’ CPP expansion possible if economy grows

The Canadian Press
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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talks to media after meeting with provincial finance ministers ended in Ottawa, Monday, Dec.17, 2012.

There still isn’t enough support from the provinces to expand the Canada Pension Plan, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says there’s hope of “a way forward” provided the economy continues to grow.

Flaherty, who spent the day meeting with his provincial counterparts, says they agreed to establish a set of economic “triggers” based on GDP and job growth that would allow the pension plan to expand without endangering the economy.

“There’s no consensus on CPP expansion at this time,” Flaherty said.

“The ministers did agree that we would task our officials with working on definitions of ’modest increase’ and ’economic triggers’ that we would then discuss at our next meeting in June.”

Ottawa and provinces will work for the next six months to map out a strategy for moving ahead, Flaherty told a wrap-up news conference Monday.

He says ministers want to establish “triggers” on GDP growth and employment that would permit expanding the pension program without risking damage to the economy.

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, one of the most vocal proponents of urgent pension reform, says he’s encouraged by the meeting, even if the pace of discussions is a bit slow for his liking.

“There isn’t consensus for moving forward now, but there’s certainly an overwhelming majority of the provinces that do want to move forward,” Duncan said.

A “substantial minority” of middle-income Canadians aren’t saving enough for retirement, Duncan said.

“We think it’s vitally important to jobs and a stronger economy in the future that we deal with this now.”

Flaherty, however, said he and some of his provincial colleagues are still worried about increasing costs for employers at a time when the recovery is still fragile.

He said all sides are well aware of the economic challenges and responsibilities they face and plan to continue to work together to confront them.


Geographic location: Ottawa, Ontario

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Recent comments

  • pierre auger
    December 16, 2013 - 17:45

    Here we go again Flaherty does not care about low income wage eaqrners or low income pensioners All this government wants to do is help the rich class and business Seniors cost of living has risen to the point many seniors can not afford to eat healthy food wich in turn creates more health costs I truly hope seniors get together and show the meanness of this govt. specially Flaherty who wants banks and insurance cos. to make more money running private pension plans our govt. run pension pklan can do a better job at no extra costs to Canadians a small increase to workers aqnd to busneses would not hurt and would be sustainable for a long time I think Flaherty should resingn from his finance potfolio and apoligize to seniors and low income workers

  • Should be Voluntary Only
    December 17, 2012 - 19:00

    Any expansion to the Canada Pension Plan system should be to allow employees to voluntarily contribute more without forcing employers to match. Employers already match CPP contributions, contribute 1.4 times Employment Insurance premiums, contribute to Workers' Compensation plus provide numerous other benefits for employees. Many small businesses do not have the financial means to have to contribute more to CPP as a result of a higher contribution rate. If mandatory then this is another way for the government to fleece Canadian taxpayers for more money to support their unwise spending habits.

  • intobed
    December 17, 2012 - 18:43

    Usually when governments change something, we are mostly in a worse position, no matter how they try to spin it. Look at Wes Sheridan telling us low and moderate income earners won't be hurt by the HST, and the Island economy will prosper. Just more lies from government representatives. I think Flaherty is setting us up so he can ruin pensions.

  • johnny cash
    December 17, 2012 - 17:13

    Explain to me again how the middle class are supposed to save for retirement when our illustrious governments tax the life out of us.Also HST and some of the other foolish things our minime gizzite is doing to us are not a help. Me,i don't know if i can "afford" to retire,i didn't win the PNP lottery like some politically connected hacks!