Finance minister visits to address CPP changes on Sudburians' minds

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau arrived in Sudbury yesterday to talk with workers and business owners about changes that are coming to the Canada Pension Plan.

Finance minister Bill Morneau took the opportunity to assuage any concerns about CPP changes

Bill Morneau, Federal Finance Minister visited Sudbury to assuage any concerns people may have about upcoming changes to the Canada Pension Plan. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau arrived in Sudbury yesterday to talk with workers and business owners about changes that are coming to the Canada Pension Plan.

Beginning in 2019, employees and employers will pay more, so workers will have more when they retire.

"I think what's important is that  people hear in plain language what we're trying to achieve," Morneau said.

"The Canada Pension Plan is a very efficient vehicle for savings as a way for them to sort of enforced savings, but do it in a very modest way."
Casey Lalonde, a Laurentian University graduate, says the current financial demands of young professionals often means they don't have enough breathing room to think about retirement. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

But young professionals like Casey Lalonde, a recent Laurentian University graduate, wonder if the changes will be enough.  

Lalonde has been mired in contract work for the last few years. She wants to think about her future, but said it's difficult in her current situation, with high student debt and few long-term prospects.

"I'm happy with what I make, but it doesn't go that far, especially when there's no job security. So you are kind of trying to save money, pay rent, pay bills," Lalonde said.

"I'm not the only young person in this situation where you're facing short-term contracted employments. Your wages don't really go up. It's hard to save for your future," she said.
John Querney, a longtime Sudbury business owner, says that in tough economic times, forcing employers to contribute more to pensions will ultimately effect his bottom line. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Employers also questioned Morneau about the net gain for small businesses once the changes take effect.

John Querney's business employs 18 workers in Sudbury. He said he started a private pension plan for his workers, when the province was looking at creating its own, separate plan.

Now that's been scrapped.

Querney may now consider getting rid of the private pension plan given the changes federally, but he says this all affects the bottom line.

"We reduced some hours in order to be able to help pay for that because as I say, Sudbury's in a fragile economy right now," Querney said.

Querney said he's pleased changes to the plan will be phased in over several years, but says he wishes the two levels of government had worked more closely together on this issue.

The enhanced Canada Pension Plan will be phased in over several years, and be fully in place by 2024.

With files from Martha Dillman. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges