October 19, 2007

CAW urges Ontario government to overhaul pensions

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is urging Ontario’s Expert Commission on Pensions to take a much broader perspective on the pension system. The union recommends that the Ontario government actively pursue talks with the federal and other provincial governments to seek expansion and improvements in current public plans, such as the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans.

In a brief to the Ontario government commission, the CAW highlights the steep decline in private pension coverage in Canada to 25.9 per cent of workers in 2005, down from 34 per cent in 1991. The union stresses that a series of improvements are needed to ensure workers have adequate and secure income in retirement.

The brief says that when workplaces close their doors, workers bear the immediate burden of economic insecurity, and should not be subject to further loss in the form of cutbacks to their pension benefits. The union is asking that steps be taken to improve protection of retirement income, including upgrades to Ontario’s Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, which partially protects pensions when a company goes bankrupt. The CAW notes that the $1,000 limit on coverage has not changed in over 27 years, and the financing provisions remain insufficient.

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