Pension reform vital to maintaining Canadians' standard of living

Oct 01, 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: Study shows social welfare may fall in a more ethical market

Provided by Concordia University

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Credit Crunch' Will Hit Retirees in Unequal Ways

Oct 09, 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, ...

Shaky financial ground awaits many American retirees

Aug 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 ...

California state pension funds going broke, study finds

Apr 06, 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

Animals first flex their muscles

10 hours ago

An unusual new fossil discovery of one of the earliest animals on earth may also provide the oldest evidence of muscle tissue – the bundles of cells that make movement in animals possible.

Fact or fiction: Which do moviegoers prefer?

15 hours ago

Do you feel sadder watching a documentary about war or a drama about a young person dying of cancer? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers mistakenly believe they will have stronger emotio ...

User comments : 0