Business

Pension reform coming soon: Flaherty

"Comprehensive reform" to federally regulated pension plans will be announced shortly, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday.

"Comprehensive reform" to federally regulated pension plans will be announced shortly, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday.

He said his department has finished consulting with interested parties across the country, in an exercise led by Ted Menzies, his parliamentary secretary.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is promising early reform of federal pensions.

Flaherty said Ottawa has also begun collaborating with the provinces and territories to find a solution to pension problems in Canada.

Ontario is the only province that has a pension benefits guarantee fund, which provides pensioners with up to $1,000 a month in the event a plan fails to provide its full benefit, or any benefit at all. It is funded by corporate contributions, and the government has no legal obligation to top it up. The province has acknowledged that with only about $100 million, the pension guarantee fund is dramatically underfunded.

Fewer than 10 per cent of pension plans in Canada are federally regulated.

Many private-sector pension plans are significantly short of the funds needed to pay their promised benefits, because of weak investment returns and historically low interest rates. And many employers are behind on payments required to meet these funding deficiencies, as a large number of Canadians are due to retire in the coming decades.

With files from Canadian Press

now