Make new pension plan mandatory: Union

Canadians desperately need a mandatory pension program to ensure they don't retire into poverty, but a supplementary pension plan being considered by the Alberta and British Columbia governments is a step backwards, says the Alberta Federation of Labour.

Federation president Gil McGowan says the supplementary plan proposed by the two provinces is flawed because it's not mandatory and -- even when added to Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits -- still wouldn't provide workers sufficient money for retirement.

Employers that don't have pension plans now aren't likely to sign up if they still don't have to, he said.

The labour federation said only 40% of Canadians have workplace pension plans. The percentage is much lower in Alberta, where only 18% of residents working in the private sector have pension plans.

The situation has prompted the Alberta and B.C. governments to work on a supplementary pension plan for workers with no company pensions.

Finance ministers from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba have scheduled a meeting in July to discuss the possibility of a national supplementary pension plan.

Canwest News Service, Fri Jun 19 2009

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