TORONTO – The Ontario government is introducing legislation to create a provincial pension plan, but says its preferred option is still to improve the Canada Pension Plan.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the bill clears the way for the introduction on Jan. 1, 2017, of the Ontario Retirement Savings Plan, which will be mandatory for workers who do not already have a company pension plan.
Some business groups say forcing companies to match workers’ contributions to a provincial pension amounts to a “job killing” payroll tax, but Sousa calls that “an extreme view.”
He says the same arguments were made when the CPP was introduced in the 1960s, insisting “they were wrong then and are wrong now.”
Sousa also dismissed suggestions that the Ontario pension bill is designed to stall real progress on the issue until after next year’s federal election in hopes a new government in Ottawa would be open to improving the CPP.
He says if Ontario doesn’t take the necessary steps now, the province won’t be ready to start the provincial pension plan on schedule.
“The reality is that a significant number of today’s workers are simply not saving enough to maintain their standard of living when they retire,” said Sousa.