CAW Applauds NDP Pension Commitments

April 4, 2011, 4:00 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is commending New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton for his party's significant commitments to retirement security for all Canadians, in response to today's announcement that the NDP would strengthen pensions.

"A doubling of the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan is the only practical and plausible way to ensure that working Canadians have enough to retire on," said Lewenza. "The NDP has been extremely supportive of initiatives to improve pensions and retirement security. Unlike the Conservatives, the party has adopted a smart approach to helping Canadians retire from their jobs and in the process create opportunities for young people in the workforce."  

Lewenza noted that support for expanding the CPP has now been expressed by a broad range political parties, pension experts, and anti-poverty activists.  "By failing to commit to expanding the CPP, the Conservatives are increasingly isolated.  They are standing in the way of an important and sensible measure that would benefit millions of future retirees."

Over the last number of years, thousands of Canadians have seen their workplace pensions disintegrate or be dramatically reduced when their employers closed up shop due to bankruptcy. The NDP plan, which includes amendments to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) as well as the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), would mean that fewer pensioners would have to face this heartbreaking situation, said Lewenza.

Workers, pensioners and the long-term disabled should not be put at the back of the line when their employers close down. "In the last five years, the retirement security of Canadians has been devastated by the crisis, by the stock market meltdown, and by the irresponsibility of employers.  The Harper government has not recognized that stronger public pensions are the best solution to this crisis," said Lewenza.

The NDP's plan to provide a substantial increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and an automatic enrolment in both the GIS and Old Age Security is a good investment in the country's economic wellbeing and would remove the threat of poverty - a threat with which far too many of our seniors must cope, said Lewenza.

The CAW, with the Canadian Labour Congress, has been calling for a doubling of the CPP, as well as an increase to the GIS and the creation of a federal guaranteed pension insurance fund. 


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