Tories limit debate on pooled pension bill

Conservative MPs have voted to limit debate on legislation to create pooled registered pension plans.

NDP to use Opposition Day to keep Old Age Security in spotlight

Conservative MPs have voted to limit debate on legislation to create pooled registered pension plans.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan moved to bring in time allocation for debate on second reading of Bill C-25 Tuesday morning, and the motion passed 153-125.

The motion means a limit of two more days of debate on second reading of the bill, which began Monday, allowing the government to move it on to the committee stage by Wednesday.

The proposed bill would create pooled registered pension plans for people who are self-employed or not covered by a workplace pension. The PRPPs, which would be defined contribution plans and not guarantee specific returns like defined benefit plans do, would let people opt out but require employers to automatically enrol all employees.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan moved for time allocation on the pooled pensions debate. (Canadian Press)

Opposition MPs objected to time allocation, saying there was no need to limit debate when so few MPs had had a chance to speak on the matter in the House.

But Van Loan told MPs Tuesday the idea was debated in the last election and the government had a mandate to move on the pensions plan.

NDP keeps focus on OAS

Meanwhile, the NDP said Tuesday it would continue to draw attention to Canada's Old Age Security system following a speech by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week in which he suggested his government would address the sustainability of Canada's retirement system. 

That raised speculation the government intends to change the eligibility for OAS to reduce its cost as more baby boomers retire in the coming years.

The NDP said it would use its Opposition Day on Thursday to debate a motion stating: "That this House rejects calls by the prime minister to balance the Conservative deficit on the backs of Canada's seniors by means such as raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and calls on the government to make the reduction and eventual elimination of seniors' poverty a cornerstone of the next budget."

Harper told the House Monday the government was not planning to cut OAS, but would be looking at the "challenges" facing the retirement income system.

PRPP targets small and medium-sized business

Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies told the House of Commons Monday the pooled registered pension plan would make Canada's retirement income system — already "the envy of the world" — even stronger.

It provides small and medium-sized businesses with a low-cost and accessible option for retirement savings for their employees, he said.

"Basically, Canadians will be buying [retirement plans] in bulk," Menzies said.

But NDP MP Wayne Marston, the party's pensions critic, said the bill was hastily put together and is a half-measure in lieu of real action.

He said the NDP wasn't supporting the bill because Canadians don't need another private plan and said expanding the government-funded Canadian Pension Plan would cost about the same.