CFIB launches awareness campaign on public sector pensions

Calls for DC plans for new hires, end to early retirement provisions
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/08/2011

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of public sector pensions it calls “unfair and underfunded.” Called “Canada's Pension Tension,” the initiative asks members to sign a petition to the ministers of finance that opposes hikes to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) premiums.

The CFIB claims employees would not see the benefits of these increases for 40 years and they do not address the more than $200-billion unfunded liability in federal public sector pensions. Titled “Leadership on Pensions Needed Now!” the petition also urges political leaders to improve Canada’s pension system by:

•enrolling all new hires in the public sector in defined contribution plans, with a 50:50 share in premiums and an end to early retirement provisions

•fully disclosing all public sector pension liabilities with the same methodology every year.

Since launching, the campaign has received several thousand signed petitions from small business owners and hundreds of followers on a Facebook page dedicated to the cause, according to the federation.

However, several unions have voiced their opposition to the campaign, said the CFIB, including the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

"We know there are many hard-working, responsible public sector workers who share our concerns about the fairness and sustainability of their pension arrangements," said Catherine Swift, president of CFIB. "Many have witnessed what is happening in other countries and have approached us on the subject. However, their unions are spending their mandatory union contributions on campaigns in an attempt to silence the very alarm bell CFIB is ringing."

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