CARP’s campaign to unlock locked-in funds in Ontario

CARP campaigns to unlock locked-in funds 100 per cent for 450,000 Ontarians.

The primary objective of CARP’s campaign in conjunction with the Ontario Coalition of Independent Locked-In Fund Holders is to prompt the government elected on October 10th to unlock LIFs by 100% in Ontario as Saskatchewan did in 2002.

Our proposal is to allow LIF holders to unlock 50% at age 55 and the balance (or total) at 65.

Locked-In Funds are the best kept pension secret in Canada – and the most misunderstood. Therefore, the second purpose in our campaign is to make the estimated over 450,000 Ontario LIF-holders, the general public and the media aware of what a LIF is, how it works and the obstacles that currently await Ontario LIF-holders when they want to access their pension money. To achieve this objective a media conference was held at CARP’s National Office on September 26, 2007.

CARP’s position was supported at the media conference by:

– Canada’s preeminent tax expert Professor Jack Mintz, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (“… I don’t see why [unlocking LIFs] should be any less than 100 percent …from a public policy perspective.”)

– Actuary Malcolm Hamilton, World Wide Partner Mercer (“… we can conclude with great confidence that these [locked-in] rules aren’t doing anything constructive any more.”)

– With a message from financial author and publisher Gordon Pape (“I wish to strongly support CARP’s initiative to encourage the Government of Ontario to implement 100% unlocking of the assets held in LIRAs, LIFs and other types of locked-in plans.”)

– Ontario Coalition of Independent Locked-In Fund Holders members Philip James and Bill Nafziger provided personal testimony on the adverse impact of not giving LIF-holder access to their own money

– Bill Gleberzon, CARP’s Director of Government Relations, presented CARP’s case.

Their speeches and supporting documentation, including a letter of endorsement from Ontario Society (Coalition) of Senior Citizens’ Organizations and CARP’s unofficial list of 61 MPPs who accessed their Locked-In Funds 100%, are available on the LIF web page at

A precedent for unlocking LIFs 100% was set in Ontario in 1999 when 61 Ontario MPPs were enabled by legislation to unlock their Legislative pension by 100%. Some of these 61 Mops are running in the current campaign, including Mr. McGuinty, Mr. Sorbara, Mr. James Bradley, Mr. Hampton and Mr. Runciman — the later two have admitted publicly that they were among the recipients of this privilege. CARP does not begrudge these 61 Mops the right to unlock their LIFs 100 per cent. But the Association does greatly begrudge them denying that right to all other Ontarians.

As a non-partisan association, CARP focuses on issues, not parties or personalities.

However, at this point in the current election campaign:

– the Conservatives have promised to unlock them 100%

– the NDP introduced a Private Members Bill in December, 2006 to unlock them 100% — although the Party has not yet followed up by including that proposal in their platform