Retiree group raises concernes over government pension bill

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Members in attendance

Conservatives: James Rajotte (Chair), Shelley Glover, Peter Braid, Cathy McLeod, Dave Van Kesteren, Jacques Gourde
NDP: Hoang Mai, Alain Giguère, Wayne Marston, Robert Chisholm
Liberals: Scott Brison

Committee in brief

The Standing Committee on Finance met on Tuesday with witnesses from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), the Canadian Bankers Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec to discuss Bill C-25, Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act.

There was general consensus among witnesses that this legislation was a step in the right direction for pension reform and the committee heard several recommendations from the witnesses and how the bill could be improved to better address problems with retirement income security.

Concerns were expressed to the committee that pooled registered pension plans (PRPPs) were too similar to RRSPs in that there was no defined benefit for either – unlike the CPP. The CARP witness expressed that even a modest increase in the CPP would benefit Canadians more and that mandatory employer contributions would be a welcome improvement to the legislation. The committee also heard that the basic premise of PRPPs would offer quite an improvement for small business pension options, as long as fees were kept under control by strong regulatory regimes. Recommendations offered included broadening the spectrum of control for PRPP management; for example, the CMA witness offered that professional associations should be able to sponsor and manage PRPPs for their organizations.