Government Must Expand Pension Consultations, CAW Council Urges

April 9, 2010, 3:10 PM EST

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The federal government must expand the number of planned pension town hall consultations to ensure more Canadians have an opportunity to offers suggestions for pension reform in Canada.

In response to a recommendation issued by CAW President Ken Lewenza in his opening address to Council on April 9, delegates voted unanimously in favour of calling on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to organize additional public town hall meetings to discuss long overdue pension reforms, including a doubling of benefits under the Canada Pension Plan.

So far, only three forums have been organized through the Federal Ministry of Finance. The first took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on April 6. Upcoming forums are scheduled for Quebec City and Richmond, British Columbia (dates are still unknown).

"The only reason this government is even talking about pensions right now is because of the pressure being put on them through the campaign efforts of our union," said CAW Local 200 Financial Secretary Dave Crosswell.

But the government needs to do more, said Jenny Ahn, CAW Director of Membership Mobilization and Campaigns.

"It's ridiculous that this government is soliciting such limited public input into one of the most critical and pressing issues facing Canadians, young and old, today," Ahn said. She also urged delegates to speak to their Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly to push for changes to CPP legislation. In order to make necessary changes, seven provinces or provinces representing 51 per cent of the population must agree.

CAW retired workers executive committee chairperson Len Harrison challenged Council delegates to communicate, as strongly as possible, the union's core retirement security campaign demands directly to Minister Flaherty and to their respective Members of Parliament.

"If we get the labour movement on our side there is no doubt we'll win these pension reforms."

In addition to a doubling of CPP benefits, the CAW is calling for an increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for Old Age Security pensions as well as a national pension benefit insurance fund.

For more information on the Retirement Security for Everyone campaign, please visit:

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