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Ontario Should Consider the Merits of the “Middle-Way” to Pension Reform – C.D. Howe Institute

March 11, 2014

TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ – As Ontario pushes ahead with pension
reform to improve retirement security for its citizens, it should
consider a “middle-way” solution between current competing visions for
reform, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe
institute. In “Helping Ontarians Save for Retirement: How the Province
Could Adapt the Canada Supplementary Pension Plan,” author Keith
Ambachtsheer recommends an approach that avoids the potential pitfalls
of two existing options: an expanded Canada Pension Plan (CPP) on one
hand, or reliance on Pooled Registered Pensions Plans (PRPPs), on the
other.

General agreement has emerged that Canada has a pension coverage
problem, notes the author. Many middle-income workers without a
workplace pension plan are likely to face sharp reductions in their
standard of living when they retire. Faced by a lack of
federal-provincial consensus on how to solve the problem, the Ontario
government has announced its intention to develop a made-in-Ontario
solution to enhance the retirement income security of its citizens.
Other provinces, including PEI and Manitoba, have expressed willingness
to take part in the discussions.

After discussing the shortcomings of the two existing solutions to the
problem – which the author calls the dueling “Big CPP” and “Little
PRPP” options – the report recommends Ontario take a middle way: the
Ontario Supplementary Pension Plan (OSPP), based on the author’s 2008
proposal for a Canada Supplementary Pension Plan.

Ambachtsheer’s proposed OSSP would combine the best elements of
traditional defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans; for
example, a target pension, clear property rights, no intergenerational
wealth shifting, lifetime income, and an opt-out option. The author
cites the UK’s National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) as a successful
model of the “middle way.”

For Ontario to adopt this model, several challenges to design and
implementation would lie ahead, he says:

        --  Is the province prepared to require employers not already
            offering a qualifying pension arrangement to enroll their
            employees in a qualifying arrangement, as Quebec has already
            done?

        --  Is the province prepared to appoint an expert task force
            charged with designing and creating a new arms-length pension
            agency that would finalize the design of, and administer an
            OSPP?

        --  Will it find an acceptable way for commercial vendors to
            participate in this newly created market for pension services?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” says Ambachtsheer, there are
three keys to success the province should keep in mind: first, a
viable, explainable vision to address the pension coverage problem;
second, the political will to see it through; and third, a properly
resourced, effectively led effort to implement it.

The C. D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research
institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering
economically sound public policies. It is Canada’s trusted source of
essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is
nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review. It
is considered by many to be Canada’s most influential think tank.

For the report go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/helping-ontarians-save-for-retirement/25084

SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute


Source: PR Newswire



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