TORONTO, ON – With a Liberal government in Ottawa, there is no need for Kathleen Wynne to push forward her flawed, non-universal Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), says the president of Ontario’s largest union.
“By moving forward with their non-universal ORPP, the Ontario Liberal government is abandoning the push to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which benefits all Canadians,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. “For years, the Ontario Liberals said CPP expansion was the best way to ensure retirement income security and blamed Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in Ottawa for standing in the way. Well, Harper is gone. But so too, it seems, is the Ontario government’s commitment to CPP expansion.”
The Wynne government has previously said the only reason it embarked on the ORPP was because Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were unwilling to enter into discussions to enhance the CPP. During the recent federal election, Premier Wynne said she would drop the idea of an ORPP if her federal Liberal counterpart, Justin Trudeau, who campaigned on expanding the CPP, was elected.
“If CPP expansion was the best solution to the retirement income security crisis before the federal election, why has Kathleen Wynne changed her tune now?” asked Hahn. “Why, isn’t she pushing Trudeau to fulfill his election promises to expand the CPP?”
The Ontario government announced yesterday it is pushing ahead with its plan to establish the ORPP, which excludes millions of workers.
“Kathleen Wynne needs to be honest that the ORPP is not equivalent to the CPP. It isn’t universal, it isn’t portable and it isn’t a social program like the CPP,” said Hahn. “It’s a workplace pension plan and for those who don’t have any plan, it is better than nothing. But it isn’t the CPP. In fact, by promoting the ORPP as equivalent, Kathleen Wynne is doing damage to the CPP, a cherished, cornerstone, universal, Canadian social program.”
In presentations to the Wynne government during the consultation phase for the ORPP, CUPE Ontario and others made it clear that any provincial plan should be a universal, mandatory, defined-benefit plan that could be rolled into any future CPP expansion. Instead, the Ontario Liberal government’s non-universal plan, which will also have higher administrative costs than the CPP, sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the CPP itself.
“We need to be very concerned that Trudeau will take Wynne’s wrong-headed ORPP as his model for CPP expansion – that he will look to expand the CPP but only for some workers, which would irrevocably damage CPP’s status as a universal, social program,” said Hahn. “A non-universal ORPP is a dangerous precedent that Kathleen Wynne should abandon in favour of continuing the push for an expanded CPP that benefits all Canadians.”
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 250,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
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