CPP enrichment to dominate finance ministers' meetings

Canada's finance ministers begin two days of meetings today, and pension issues are expected to dominate the discussions.
The federal government's about-face on Canada Pension Plan reform may seem like it came out of nowhere, but the move is being positioned as just one more way for Canadians to save for retirement. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
Canada's finance ministers begin two days of meetings today, and pension issues are expected to dominate the discussions.

Some provincial ministers have been pressing federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to take steps to boost the Canada Pension Plan to ensure seniors have adequate income.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has said he'll look at proposals for his province to proceed on its own if the federal government doesn't act.

Sousa says the province has a critical mass of people to support what he calls "made-in-Ontario opportunities."

Most CPP enhancement proposals call for roughly a doubling of the maximum annual CPP benefit above the current $12,150.

It would mean doubling premiums that are split equally between workers and employers, something that doesn't sit well with business groups.

One proposal under consideration would see annual benefits rise to $23,400 from the current $12,150, while maximum contributions are increased to $4,681 from $2,356. However, the maximum pensionable earnings would also receive a big boost to $102,000 from the current $51,000.

The Harper government has said CPP premiums are a job-discouraging payroll tax.

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