CAW Applauds Agreement on CPP

June 15, 2010, 1:55 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is voicing his strong approval of yesterday's agreement of most of the provinces and the federal government to improve Canada Pension Plan benefits.   

"This is an historic agreement that will hopefully mean greater dignity in retirement for millions of Canadians," said Lewenza. He congratulated the provincial and federal finance ministers, particularly Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, for recognizing the necessity of changing CPP legislation. While it was a shame that the Province of Alberta continues to oppose changes to the CPP, Lewenza said he was pleased to see all other provinces coming to consensus.

Lewenza credits a co-ordinated effort to press elected officials for change, combined with a number of high profile bankruptcy cases, including Nortel, which created greater public awareness about the difficulties retirees often face.  "Collectively, we owe a debt of gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of women and men who attended rallies, contacted their elected officials, called in to radio shows and filled the letter boxes, voicing their concerns around retirement security. Without these efforts, we would not have anything to celebrate today."

Lewenza reaffirmed that the details of the agreement will be extremely important. "Canadians must continue to be vigilant that tangible changes will be made to CPP legislation that will enhance the quality of life for people when they retire," said Lewenza. 

Lewenza also warned against alarmists in the business community who have indicated that improvements to CPP benefits will kill jobs. "This is just an attempt to derail critical changes that would bring about greater equality and dignity for Canadians when they retire. Equality in our country has been under attack for years, and this line of argument is exactly that."


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