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October 20, 2021

Time to increase Canada Pension Plan benefits: poll

Worried that they won't have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, Canadians are pushing for enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan, according to a new poll.

Almost eight in 10 respondents — 78% — said they support increasing CPP benefits. The idea was most popular among those currently earning between $30,000 and $60,000.

Just over 80% said they support increasing Old Age Security payments as well – no mention of just how to do that, of course.

Big labour is certainly on board.

“In terms of social policy, Canada is at a ‘Medicare moment’ not unlike 40 years ago, when as a country we decided that all Canadians deserve universal health care,” says Paul Moist, head of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “This time, we have a golden opportunity to help this generation and the next retire with dignity.”

All of which suggests that pension reform will be an important issue in the next federal election as politicos roll out their proposed solutions for tackling Canadians' worries about their retirement prospects.

One answer is to increase employer and employee premiums on all earnings up to the CPP’s yearly limit, which is currently set at $47,200 and trims your pay cheque by just about 5% annually – twice that if you work for yourself.

The second option would be to increase that limit, which is currently the more popular choice as it targets middle-income Canadians who aren’t saving enough but wouldn’t break the backs of workers with lower incomes.

Any change to the CPP would require the support of seven provinces, representing more than two-thirds of the population. And there’s certainly no consensus out there.

Alberta, for instance, has voiced strong opposition to any boost in CPP contributions, labelling it another job-killing payroll tax on businesses.

Is it time to revamp the CPP? Would you favour a gradual boost in contribution levels? How much would be too much?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...