Pension reform vital to maintaining Canadians' standard of living

October 1, 2010

As baby boomers retire in greater numbers, serious doubts continue to be raised about the ability of the retirement income system to provide adequate replacement wages for the next generation of Canadians. According to a new study conducted by a Concordia University researcher for the Institute for Research on Public Policy, our country can learn valuable policy lessons from recent pension reforms in Norway, Sweden, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Patrik Marier, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Public Policy and a professor in the Concordia Department of Political Science, argues the poverty rate among Canada's elderly risks rising again unless political leaders reform our current retirement income system.

"A significant proportion of today's middle-income earners could face a decline in their living standards when they retire," Marier warns. "But reforms in other countries provide examples of the directions in which Canada might consider moving."

In Norway, for example, employers have to top up the public scheme with modest occupational pension coverage. This resulted in 600 000 workers gaining new coverage at a low cost to the state. New Zealand and the U.K. opted for automatic enrolment with opt-out provisions for workers. Employers there have to contribute if workers do. In addition, New Zealand provided and incentives encouraging workers to sign-up.

Marier also suggests Ottawa look to the birthplace of our Medicare plan, Saskatchewan, for another example of innovative social policy. Marier says a version of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan could be successful if adopted across Canada with and a higher contribution ceiling. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan was adopted in 1986 so homemakers and others could have a retirement income.

Explore further: Shaky financial ground awaits many American retirees

Related Stories

Shaky financial ground awaits many American retirees

August 16, 2007

The burden of long-term economic security in the United States is moving away from employers and the government onto the shoulders of workers - a transformation that Yale University political scientist Jacob Hacker calls ...

'Credit Crunch' Will Hit Retirees in Unequal Ways

October 9, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- How severely retirees will be affected by the continuing financial crisis and subsequent "credit crunch" depends to a considerable extent on the kinds of retirement plans they rely on for retirement income, ...

California state pension funds going broke, study finds

April 6, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- California public employee pension systems are worse off than anyone previously projected, according to a new report generated by five graduate students in Stanford's Graduate Public Policy Program. The result ...

Recommended for you

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.