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December 06, 2021

Does Canada's pension system deserve a passing grade?

One year ago, Canada had the 5th best retirement-income system in the world. A year later, that really hasn’t changed much, according to the most recent study of worldwide pension systems by Mercer and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies.

AdThe study measured the overall pension benefits that are being provided to the citizens of 16 countries, the likelihood that those systems will be able to provide benefits in the future, and the integrity of each country's private retirement plans.

And, same as last year, Canada scores decent but not overwhelming marks. In fact, Canada earned a low “B” grade for its pension-plan system, according to the 2011 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, the same grade awarded to Sweden and the U.K.

The Netherlands and Australia earned the highest grades, a B+, for the respective pension schemes. Read the entire Global Pension report here.

Not everyone agrees that we're in "pretty good" shape, however. Thanks to the bankruptcies of high-profile corporations like Nortel Networks and AbitibiBowater, which left massive underfunded pension liabilities in their wake, some Canadians aren’t going to see the pension they counted on.

What's worse, recent court rulings supporting their cause, are being challenged in the Supreme Court.

The fact is that one out of seven senior citizens in Canada are living below or just slightly above the poverty level, according to recent Canadian Labour Congress data.

The problem is going to get worse as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement and the number of seniors in Canada increases, says the CLC's Barb Byers.

Realizing you're not likely to move to Australia, how do you feel about Canada's current retirement programs? Do you think things have improved in recent years?

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...

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...