UFCW Canada efforts pay off with expanded CPP

Toronto – June 23, 2016 – The federal Minister of Finance and his provincial counterparts have finally come to agreement on a modest universal expansion of the CPP.

Over the past seven years, UFCW Canada and the broader labour movement campaigned for a doubling of CPP benefits, so seniors could retire with dignity. UFCW Canada locals unions, members, activists, and staff sent thousands of letters, lobbied federal and provincial politicians, wrote blogs and newsletters and ran numerous social media campaigns in support of expanding the CPP.

UFCW Canada and other unions had lobbied for a substantially higher increase than the ministers are proposing but are pleased to see that governments are finally moving on expansion –  the first increase in benefits in over 50 years – realizing that CPP expansion is the best way to ensure seniors don’t retire in poverty.

The increase in premiums paid by employees and employers will be phased in over seven years beginning in 2019, and will see both employee and employer premiums increase by 1% over that period. Currently the CPP is meant to replace 25% of earnings up to the ceiling, while the new plan would aim to replace 33% of income up to a new higher ceiling. This means the maximum annual benefit, based on lifetime contributions, would increase from $13,110 to $17,478.  

The deal is not final, as each province and the federal government need to ratify the agreement and ratification requires the support of seven provinces with at least 70% of the population, so the pressure needs to continue until the provincial and federal governments have ratified it.    

While we would have preferred to see a larger CPP enchantment, this week’s announcement was a step in the right direction and proof that when the voices of workers and their union call out together, positive political action can happen.