Poll: What CARP members want – investment in people for real economic stimulus


January 21, 2009

Poll: What CARP members want – investment in people for real economic stimulus

TORONTO, ON: CARP released the results of an internal poll of its members on their priorities for economic stimulus. Nearly 3,000 responded and demonstrated overwhelming support for investments in people not just infrastructure.

Of the issues that threaten CARP’s core membership who are retired or facing retirement, and which CARP has been lobbying for tirelessly, CARP members overwhelmingly supported investing in people by:

Eliminating Mandatory RRIF Withdrawals [88%], Permitting Full Unlocking of Life Income funds [85.4%], Universal Supplementary Pension Plan [81%], Increasing OAS and GIS [85/9%], Helping Older Workers Stay Employed [80.2%], Eliminating Mandatory Retirement [82.9%] a National Pharmacare program [85.6%]. Support for Canada’s 5 million family caregivers [95.7%]

Special mention should be made of the 95.7% who endorsed the idea of supporting the 5 million family caregivers providing $6-9 billion dollars of unpaid care every year. Without the help of these informal caregivers, the responsibility of caring for older adults would fall on the health care system.

Asked to choose from the five priorities listed in the Finance Minister’s online poll, CARP members choose “Expedite Infrastructure Spending” [39.5%] and “Building Strong, Sustainable Labour Markets and Training Incentives” [40.1%] and showed dramatically less interest in the others.

For full poll results, please visit: http://www.carp.ca/article_display.cfm?documentID=3526 “These are fascinating results given they come from a sector of the population who is very active politically. We have already had an impact on the issue of RIFFs, and will be watching the budget closely to see if our advocacy produces further results for a group who.who have been the hardest hit by the economic downturn”, said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.

CARP’s Pre-Budget Submission

Based on this feedback, CARP submitted a pre-budget submission by an open letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his provincial counterparts on December 16, 2008.

CARP’s demands can be summarized as follows:

Protect Retirement Security Ward Off Poverty Let Older Canadians Keep Working Invest In Health & Wellness “The recommendations we make are not demands for major public spending but for a realignment of public priorities that will lever rather than replace the endeavours and contributions of Canadians who have thrived on self-reliance. We have not lost sight of those needing income support and recommend measures that would provide immediate relief as well as allowing people to continue taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones”, said Eng.

Unlocking LIFs

Some of these recommendations would cost the government nothing and might even bring in tax revenues. In 2005, Canadians had invested just under 600 billion dollars in vehicles such as RRSPs, RRIFs, LIRAs and others. The amount in locked in funds is not separately recorded.

The ability for people to access their savings is unduly restricted in all provinces except Saskatchewan. A Nova Scotia resident cannot unlock their Life Income Funds at all, while someone who lives in Saskatchewan has access to 100 per cent of their pension savings.