Retire with dignity: Atamanenko

Alex Atamanenko addresses the issue of retiring with enough money to survive into your senior years.

I hear from constituents on a regular basis who are concerned about their retirement future.  The reality is that twelve million Canadians lack a workplace pension plan.   Only one in four Canadians can afford to purchase RRSPs each year.  One quarter of a million seniors live in poverty in Canada. One in four workers is in a low wage job paying $13.32 an hour or less.

Basically, many people don’t have enough income left after their monthly expenses to save much, if anything, toward their retirement.

This is a looming problem in Canada.  With the real costs of basic living rising faster than Canada Pension Plan rates, it becomes a crisis.

The federal Conservative government’s approach to retirement security is to ask many families to face the crisis alone.  This was illustrated in November when the government announced a Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), a type of group RRSP that employers may now offer.  Instead of defined-benefit workplace pensions or meaningful changes to the Canada Pension Plan, the federal government has given you the choice to pump even more of your savings into risky private funds and stock markets.

To me, this Plan seems to serve the banks and brokers, not the citizens.

You’ve probably watched your or other people’s RRSP savings tumble in the past few years, with additional costs of fees paid to fund managers.  (In 2007 alone, RRSP holders lost a whopping $25 billion to management fees.)

The Conservatives have also announced a recent change to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) eligibility, “allowing” people to work longer and still contribute to CPP past the age of 65, while increasing the penalty for retiring before 65.  This may be good news to some people – those who wish to continue to work and both draw on and contribute to CPP.

But many Canadians work at jobs that are very demanding to their health.  Maintaining full employment to the age of 65 is already a challenge for some.

Constituents are telling me they want less risk in their retirement planning and savings, not more.

In the mid-1960s the New Democrats helped launch the Canada Pension Plan.  Public pension plans work.

The large scale and professional management of the CPP helps keep costs down and accrues benefits for citizens.

Most provinces are also now calling for an expanded CPP with most provincial leaders agreeing: increasing the CPP benefits is the best, lowest-cost pension reform option available.  Yet in December 2010, at a meeting of provincial finance ministers, Ottawa rejected this idea.

The Federal NDP wants to ensure that Canadians can retire with dignity.

The Canadian Labour Congress agrees, stating: “The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) delivers a defined benefit, fully indexed to inflation, and operates at much lower cost than the proposed ‘pooled registered pension plans’ which will generate large fees for the financial sector, and produce a variable and uncertain return.”

The federal NDP’s plan would:

– expand the guaranteed Canada Pension Plan by phasing in, over a seven year period, an affordable doubling of benefits from 25 percent to 50 percent of a retiree’s pensionable earnings;

– gradually increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement as well as ensure automatic enrolment;

– invest in home care as part of the public health care system and invest in long‐term care for the elderly.

The global economy is headed for rough waters and Canada is not immune. Now is the time for practical, stable solutions that will protect our families for years to come.


Alex Atamanenko,

MP, BC Southern Interior

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read