Ontario businesses want province to defer pension plan

Employers concerned plan will lead to job losses: Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario businesses are urging the provincial government to defer legislation around the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The Ontario Chamber and its network of 160 community chambers are calling on the provincial government to provide more information about concerns and questions around the ORPP’s impact on economic competitiveness, and worries the plan will lead to job losses.

The proposed ORPP will require employers to match employee contributions to the plan.

While 72 per cent of businesses in the province believe pension reform should be a priority for government, employers are also concerned about the province’s economic future, according to a survey of 1,000 businesses conducted by the Chamber.

Just 23 per cent of respondents said they could afford the costs associated with higher employer pension contributions.

"Employers worry that by making it more expensive to hire, the new pension plan will negatively impact job creation and hurt Ontario's competitiveness," said Allan O'Dette, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

"Combined with increases in electricity prices, high WSIB rates, and, for many employers, a higher minimum wage, the new pension plan will burden businesses that are already struggling to meet the rising cost of doing business in Ontario."

A coalition of more than 50 chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario submitted a joint letter to the provincial government, asking for further answers to questions around the ORPP.

"What will be the impact of a fully-implemented ORPP? What happens when a business can't afford to meet the requirements of the ORPP? How much will it cost to administer a standalone provincial plan? Businesses across Ontario are seeking answers to these questions," said O’Dette.

"The retirement income challenge is a real one. However, we need to ensure that any changes to the pension system are made with a full understanding of the impact they will have on Ontario's business climate. We are not satisfied that these questions have been fully answered."

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