90 per cent of Canadians support pooled pensions

Albertans, Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians most in favour: Survey

Working Canadians overwhelmingly support the federal government’s proposal for pooled registered pension plans (PRPPs), according to a survey released by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

Ninety per cent said they support the program, which was announced by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in January.

More than one-half (55 per cent) of the 1,000 respondents said they would save more for retirement if a PRPP option was available — that jumps to 60 per cent of households with young children under the age of 17.

"The plan by finance ministers to enhance employer savings programs is massively popular among Canadians in every region of the country," said Frank Swedlove, president of Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. "It is rare to see a public policy idea receive virtually unanimous approval with the public."

A PRPP makes it easier and cheaper for employers to offer a retirement savings program for employees. It eliminates administrative work and will be especially attractive to small and medium-sized employers. By relieving the employer of almost all administrative costs and compliance issues except for payroll deduction processing, more companies, employees and the self-employed can participate, said the association.

Support for PRPPs was highest among people working for a private company, at 92 per cent. Albertans were the strongest supporters, with 94 per cent endorsing PRPPs, followed by Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians, at 91 per cent, and Quebec, at 86 per cent.

Canadians recognize the value of the Canadian Pension Plan to the overall retirement savings system, with 59 per cent supporting some government role. But they also want to have choice in their investment decisions and believe the private sector provides that choice, said Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Only 13 per cent of Canadians said they wanted to leave retirement savings completely with a public plan.

"Canada has one of the world's best retirement savings programs according to the Melbourne-Mercer Global Pension Index. It works because it balances public sector and private sector roles, offers choice to Canadians and manages costs. This is an opportune time to make the adjustments to improve it, so all Canadians are better served," said Swedlove.

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