Worried Canadians want improved CPP: poll
By Norma Greenaway, Postmedia News October 15, 2010
OTTAWA — Almost one in three Canadians say they won't have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, according to a new poll that also says the vast majority support enhancing the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans to fatten retirement incomes.
The Environics poll, being released Friday, paints a picture of a population where a significant minority are concerned about the adequacy of their retirement income — an insecurity that increases the closer they get to retiring.
Half of the survey respondents said governments are moving too slowly on pension reform and 80 per cent said they support increasing Old Age Security payments, as well as the Guaranteed Income Supplement that goes to the poorest seniors.
Significantly, says pollster Tony Coulson, the bulk of those surveyed who were already retired rely most heavily on CPP and company pension plan benefits.
Given that fewer companies are offering defined benefit plans, Coulson said, future retirees are likely to be more dependent on CPP benefits and other savings vehicles to finance their retirement.
The poll findings help fuel expectations pension reform will be a key issue in the next federal election as parties roll out their promises for tackling Canadians' worries about the health of their retirement savings.
A substantial minority — 37 per cent — said they are not saving for retirement, a figure that rises to 72 per cent for those earning less than $30,000 a year, the poll said. More than seven in 10 say they can't afford to put money away.
Only one in four people said they were fully confident of being able to save enough to live comfortably after they stop working.
Environics conducted the telephone survey of 2,020 adult Canadians in late August for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. In a sampling that size, the margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Almost eight in 10 respondents — 78 per cent — said they support increasing CPP/QPP benefits. The idea was most popular among those earning between $30,000 and $60,000, winning a thumbs up from 82 per cent.
Labour unions, as well as the federal NDP, advocate enhancing the CPP, which covers most Canadian workers, as the most effective way to help future retirees.
They say the 2008 market meltdown and ensuing economic recession took a big toll on Canadians' retirement expectations while exposing serious fault lines in Canadians' reliance on company pension plans and private savings and investments to finance their golden years.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty surprised many of his provincial counterparts at a meeting in June by proposing Ottawa and the provinces explore "modest" enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan.
Flaherty is still keen to explore that avenue, according to government insiders, who also say Prime Minister Stephen Harper was behind the push to pursue the CPP option.
Changing the CPP requires the support of two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the population. Although Alberta has voiced strong opposition to raising CPP contributions, calling it a job-killing payroll tax on businesses, most provinces appear to be on board.
Federal and provincial officials were asked after the June meeting to crunch numbers with an eye to providing some scenarios for raising CPP contributions and benefits when the finance ministers meet again, probably in December.
CUPE president Paul Moist said the survey results "send a clear message" to federal and provincial politicians that Canadians support paying higher CPP contributions now in exchange for better benefits when they retire.
© Copyright (c) Postmedia News
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Worried+Canadians+want+improved+poll/3674410/story.html#ixzz12Qz3hPEF