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New pension model is not for Canada

(Letter to the Editor, Telegraph Journal Aug 30 2013)

Re: “How New Brunswick became a pension trailblazer,” Aug. 23

Providing a secure retirement to workers is basic principle that CUPE and the labour movement advocate for. I am glad Carol Goar is talking about this important issue, but her op-ed misrepresents CUPE’s position in a number of ways.


CUPE advocates for defined benefit pension plans as the best and most efficient way to ensure an adequate and secure income retirement. The “New Brunswick solution,” while arguably appropriate for New Brunswick’s specific situation, is not a trend-setter for the rest of Canada.

CUPE members in New Brunswick faced a unique pension funding challenge because of government underfunding and employer contribution holidays. The New Brunswick situation is completely unrelated to the causes of Detroit’s economic crisis. A repeat ofDetroit will not happen in Canada, as our municipalities’ pension plans are regulated by far more rigorous and fiscally sound policies than our American counterparts.

Pension health is improving across Canada and full funding has been achieved by many, and is in sight for most.

Ms. Goar’s column did not address the most pressing pension issue. For the six in 10 workers without pension plans, CUPE has been lobbying for a fully funded and phased-in doubling of CPP benefits.


National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees