B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen’s Statement on Pension Reform

British Columbia is committed to the implementation of a broad-based occupational pension plan for private-sector workers who do not presently have access to such a plan.

As you may know, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries has suggested that up to two-thirds of all Canadians earning between $30,000 and $100,000 in the private sector–who plan to retire in the next 20 years–won’t be able to pay their necessary living expenses. It is unacceptable that so many of our citizens are at risk of not having the basic retirement security provided by an occupational pension plan.

We believe there is an opportunity to develop a supplemental pension plan—a pan-Canadian plan, not just for British Columbians, but for all Canadians. We share with several of the other provinces, as well as many stakeholders, the view that a pan-Canadian approach that supplements the existing Canada Pension Plan and other private savings would be an effective pension plan solution for Canadian workers and their families. If a supplemental CPP top-up or CPP expansion plan are not feasible or achievable at this time, we intend to proceed with plans to develop an alternate plan with those provinces that have expressed a willingness to participate.

Our commitment for a pension plan is only one aspect of B.C.’s comprehensive pension reform initiative. Along with many stakeholders, and as recommended by our Joint Expert Panel, we believe that a fundamental overhaul of pension standards legislation is required to improve pension benefit security and to provide more flexibility for innovative plan design. We have embarked on the ambitious task of rewriting our standards in collaboration with our colleagues in Alberta in order to achieve a harmonized result between the two provinces. We are also hopeful that ongoing discussions with the federal government will succeed in achieving a more modern tax regime that will complement our pension policy objectives.

Colin Hansen
B.C. Finance Minister

Keywords: pension reform