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Slight majority agree Canada Pension Plan is insufficient: poll

A man looks over a brochures offering various retirement savings options. AP Photo

TORONTO – A new poll suggests a slight majority of Canadians believe that in replacing about 25 per cent of pre-retirement income, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) was insufficient for its purpose.

The poll comes as Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers discuss pensions and the federal job grant program at their Toronto meeting on Friday.

Fifty-two per cent of Canadians surveyed in a recent Forum Poll believed the CPP to be insufficient, while just more than a quarter (28 per cent) believed the 25 per cent target was about right.

A mere six per cent of those polled think the target was too high.

Believing the CPP to be insufficient was most common in baby boomers (60 per cent of those aged 55 to 64) and those in the $80,000-$100,000 income bracket (57 per cent). People in Atlantic Canada and the prairies also thought CPP was insufficient, at 58 and 66 per cent, respectively.

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s top priority for the premiers meeting is reforming the CPP. She has warned there will be a huge financial crisis if action isn’t taken.

Video below: Wynne says retirement security a key issue at Nov. 15 premiers meeting

Fifty-three per cent of Canadians surveyed want to see CPP contributions by employers and employees increased so that benefits can also be increased. This sentiment is also especially common in boomers at 61 per cent, and seniors over 65 years of age at 67 per cent.

“The federal government keeps shying away from expanding CPP, despite the good advice of economists, the provinces, business leaders and seniors, and it’s clear they are swimming against the stream of public opinion as well,” said Forum Research President Dr. Lorne Bozinoff in a statement. “The idea that the economy is too weak to support CPP expansion doesn’t appear to wash with voters.”

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Read more: RRSPs aren’t cutting it, Ontario Teachers pension head Jim Leech says

The poll suggests twice as many voters prefer a CPP contribution and benefit expansion (45 per cent) as those who want supplementary provincial pension plans, as proposed by Ontario (23 per cent). However, 20 per cent chose “neither of these” when presented with the two options.

Prince Edward Island wants to improve the CPP, and is proposing to hike maximum CPP contributions to $4,681.20 a year from $2,356.20. PEI also suggests increasing maximum annual benefits to $23,400 from $12,150.

Nova Scotia, Alberta and the federal government are worried a hike in premiums would be the same as increasing taxes on businesses and could kill jobs.

The telephone survey involved 1,834 randomly selected Canadians 18 years and older and was conducted by Forum Research on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, 2013. Results based on the total sample are considered accurate +/‐ 2%, 19 times out of 20.

With files from The Canadian Press

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