CANADA - Opposition Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff has proposed a "gradual expansion" of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and pledged an extra C$700m ($720m) in annual payments to older people on low incomes.
Ignatieff said a Liberal government would also introduce a new "Secure Retirement Option" that would offer Canadians a simple, voluntary, tax-deductible savings option backed by the publicly-run CPP and create a Stranded Pension Agency to give Canadians a new option to manage their private pensions after corporate bankruptcies.
"Canadians who work their whole lives to provide for their families deserve a secure retirement with pensions they can count on," said Ignatieff.
"[Prime Minister] Stephen Harper chose to abandon the CPP and let five years pass by without delivering serious, much-needed pension reform. Now, while he's looking at complicated, higher-risk and higher-cost private options, Liberals are standing behind our trusted Canada Pension Plan to give families a reliable, simple and low-cost way to save."
The C$700m would be used as an annual boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to reduce poverty among seniors, especially women and seniors with disabilities, Ignatieff said.
"Fewer and fewer Canadians have access to a high-quality, employer-sponsored pension plan," said he added. "The Harper approach may be welcome news for the banks and insurance companies on Bay Street, but a private option on its own fails to meet the needs of Canadian families.
"Enhancing the CPP provides enormous advantages to both employers and employees as it avoids the risk, complexity and hidden management fees that too often drain retirement savings from private financial sector plans."
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