Timing must be right for CPP changes, Higgs says
New Brunswick's economy too weak, he says
The Alward government supports Ottawa's go-slow approach to changing the Canada Pension Plan to require higher contributions from workers and employers and pay larger benefits to pensioners.
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says given New Brunswick's weak economy, he doesn't want changes to the program too quickly.
"There's an opportunity to move forward on that, it's true. But the economic conditions have to be right. And in New Brunswick we have some issues there where we're trying to move our economy forward," said Higgs, who was meeting with his provincial counterparts and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty near Ottawa on Monday.
"So the collective agreement is the economic conditions have to be right. Ultimately, we're hopeful we can come to a solution on that when the timing's right," he said.
"We have to understand the impact it's going to have in relation to how modest it could be put forward, the time frame, and understand clearly what it could look like. We can't do it in any quick fashion and that's our concern."
Some provinces are pushing for the changes, but Flaherty says he'll only agree if the provinces are unanimous.
Normally, two-thirds of the provinces have to approve any changes.
Supporters contend larger premiums and benefits will be necessary as the population ages.
Critics, however, argue charging higher CPP premiums might hurt he economy.
Flaherty has said now is probably not the right time to enrich the CPP, given the "very fragile, very modest economic growth."