Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big City Mayors Support Expansion of CPP

CAW's Lewenza Urges Wide Support for Pension Expansion

TORONTO, May 28, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A group of 22 mayors from Canada's biggest cities are calling for expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, a federal system of pension insurance, and for the federal government to hold a national summit on pension issues.

The Big City Mayors Caucus approved yesterday in Toronto a multi-point resolution on pension reform that they are urging the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to support. CAW President Ken Lewenza commended Toronto Mayor David Miller for leading the charge on the pension resolution.

The resolution highlights the hardship that the economic downturn in Canada is having on workers and their retirement security. It stresses the increased number of employer bankruptcies which have resulted in under-funded pension plans and the loss of pension benefits.

"This is an important and positive signal from the elected leadership of our largest cities," said Lewenza.

The CAW and others in the labour movement have been campaigning and lobbying municipal officers to support an expansion of CPP and ensure greater retirement security for workers and their families.

"By supporting this resolution, the elected leadership from all municipalities will encourage the provincial and federal levels of government to act to ensure all Canadians enjoy adequate and secure pension income in future," Lewenza said.

The resolution indicates only one in four private sector workers in Canada belong to an employer pension plan, while the remainder must rely more heavily on personal savings to provide for their retirement. While CPP and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is safe, it falls well short of replacing the 50 to 70 per cent of pre-retirement income needed to maintain a decent standard of living.

The Big City Mayors call on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to support expansion of the Canada's public pension system by increasing the GIS by 15 per cent so no senior lives in poverty and by protecting Canadian pensions through a federal system of pension insurance.

They also call on the FCM to urge the federal government to hold a national pension summit and to support the expansion of the CPP.

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