Business

Lewenza calls for doubling of CPP

The head of the Canadian Auto Workers union is the latest figure to call for an overhaul of the Canada Pension Plan.

CAW leader says proposal can be paid for with 3% employee contribution increase

The head of the Canadian Auto Workers union is the latest figure to call for an overhaul of the Canada Pension Plan.

CAW president Ken Lewenza supports a proposal to double benefits from the government-run pension plan.

Union president Ken Lewenza told CAW council members in Port Elgin, Ont., Friday that he supports a proposal to double benefits from the government-run pension plan.

The issue of pension reform has gathered steam in recent months with the high-profile collapses of numerous private pension plans. In December, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty met with his provincial counterparts in Whitehorse to discuss ways of overhauling the system.

At the meeting, some provinces were in favour of creating a second, complementary system to supplement the CPP, while others argued simply putting more money into the existing system is the wisest course.

Ultimately, no consensus was reached but on Friday, Lewenza came out in favour of a proposal to double benefits from the government-run pension plan.

Speaking at a meeting of the union's parliamentary body, Lewenza lobbied to gradually increase workers' contributions to the CPP by approximately 58 per cent over seven years.

Growing issue

The global economic crisis proved Canadians can't rely on private sector pension plans to carry them through their retirement, he said, suggesting that it's Ottawa's responsibility to guarantee a reasonable standard of living to all retirees.

Flaherty is on a cross-country series of roundtable discussions, meeting with pension experts and ordinary citizens to solicit opinions. He was in Charlottetown this week meeting with local officials on the pension issue.

The CAW has been lobbying MPs and provincial legislators for immediate changes to the pension system. At the very least, the union would like more dates and locations added to Flaherty's series of consultations.

The CAW council meeting will continue through the weekend. Discussions on the growth of part-time, temporary and precarious employment in Canada and its effect on workers will also be discussed, the CAW said in a release.

Corrections

  • Ken Lewenza lobbied to increase worker CPP contributions by 58 per cent over seven years, not three per cent as originally reported.
    Apr 09, 2010 9:58 PM ET

With files from The Canadian Press

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