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: 3 Qs: Economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues

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

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

Apr 17, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...