CHARLOTTETOWN - Pension reform is smart public policy and shrewd electoral politics.
That’s the message from Premier Kathleen Wynne to her provincial and territorial counterparts gathered for the annual Council of the Federation meeting.
Bolstered by her surprise majority election victory on June 12, Wynne will present the other premiers with Ontario government research — including an internal poll — on the importance of improving retirement security.
The Liberals’ cornerstone campaign pledge was a new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan to complement the Canada Pension Plan that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is refusing to enrich even though the maximum annual benefit is only about $12,000.
Wynne is hoping her recent electoral success will encourage other premiers to see the wisdom of launching their own provincial schemes — or at least increasing the pressure on Harper to boost CPP.
Quebec is the only province with its own pension plan, while Ontario’s will be phased in as of 2017.
The internal polling obtained by the Star will be shared with the other 12 provincial and territorial leaders here on Thursday.
Entitled, “Canadian Perceptions of Pension Reform and Retirement Security,” the nationwide EKOS survey found only 15 per cent of respondents are confident they will have enough to retire on, while 50 per cent said they are “concerned” they won’t.
The live interview telephone survey of 2,060 people was conducted Aug. 8-15 and is considered accurate to within 2.16 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
One third — 33 per cent — are worried about lacking sufficient and secure retirement income, 25 per cent about having adequate health-care and drug coverage, 15 per cent about having to work longer, 11 per cent about remaining in their homes as long as possible, and 10 per cent about managing housing costs.
About three-quarters — 74 per cent — agree Canada Pension Plan benefits should be increased while 12 per cent disagreed and 12 per cent didn’t know.
Similarly, 69 per cent feel Ottawa “has the greatest responsibility to help Canadians prepare for retirement,” while 10 per cent disagreed and 19 per cent said neither the federal nor provincial and territorial governments bear that responsibility.