• After the Sears debacle, why is Ontario making it easier to underfund pensions?

    Leaving retirees to scramble in their golden years is cruel, and it is unconscionable to expect an overtaxed middle class to foot the bill for corporate chicanery. If governments won’t stop companies from dodging their pension obligations, it’s just a matter of time before we see the next Sears Canada. And that’s a prospect that should worry us all.

  • Pooled Risk Insurance Can Save Seniors from Cat Food

    Longevity insurance can provide a secure income stream at older ages without many of the criticisms associated with traditional annuities, but Canadian tax environment is unfavourable for private-market longevity risk products. MacDonald proposes a national, completely voluntary program that would give retiring Canadians the option to buy into a pooled fund that provides a stable income stream starting at age 85: Canada’s Living Income For the Elderly (LIFE).

  • The Lion’s Share: Pension deficits and shareholder payments among Canada’s largest companies

    This study examines the status of the defined benefit (DB) pension plans of Canada’s largest publicly-traded companies. Thirty-nine companies on the S&P/TSX 60 maintain DB pension plans, amounting to one-third of all private sector pension plan assets in Canada. However, only nine plans were fully funded in 2016. Together, the 39 companies oversaw a $10.8 billion deficit in their pension plans in 2016, while increasing shareholder payouts from $31.9 billion in 2011 to $46.9 billion last year.

  • The Lion’s Share: Pension deficits and shareholder payments among Canada’s largest companies

    … 39 companies oversaw a $10.8 billion deficit in their pension plans in 2016, while increasing shareholder payouts from $31.9 billion in 2011 to $46.9 billion last year. This paper, co-published by the CCPA and the Canadian Labour Congress, details the extent to which DB pension plans among S&P/TSX 60 companies are underfunded, provides the cost to shareholders that eliminating the pension deficits would pose, and offers a series of recommendations for ensuring the security of retirees’ benefits.

  • Federal government can and must put pensioners first

    The federal government can and must ensure bankruptcy laws put pensioners at the front of the line. And it can go one very important step further: working with the provinces and territories to create Canada-wide mandatory pension insurance. Such a system would guarantee monthly pensions up to $2,500 whenever an employer with an underfunded pension plan… It would be paid for by pension funds, a fair trade-off, given their tax-exempt status.

  • The era of big government isn’t over. It may be about to start

    The mystery is why anyone ever thought private companies were the way to cover huge costs like health or pensions. It’s costly and patchwork; public programs make far more sense. They’re stabler, better funded and include some democratic oversight. But before the economy got financialized, and mighty companies turned into hedgies’ playthings, they could at least pretend to fill the need. Public programs, however, mean you need revenues to fund them.

  • Canada needs a bigger change in pension system

    Defined benefit pension plans like the one at Sears have been declining for many years, at least in the private sector… part of the problem is greedy corporations… But… private pension plans are struggling because of more fundamental issues. Retirees are living much longer and interest rates have been at record lows for years. That forces companies to make up the shortfall at a time when they may be fighting for their very survival.

  • Expanding CPP is best way to protect pensions

    In a targeted benefit plan, the employer agrees only to try to provide predictable pensions. If it can’t, pensioners will get less than they were promised… outside of the public sector, there is little hope for real company pension plans. Their time has come and gone… Changing the bankruptcy laws to put pensioners at the front of the queue, as both the New Democrats and Bloc Québécois suggest, is a fine idea. But it doesn’t deal with the fact that the company pension plan such a move would protect is a thing of the past.

  • Demise of Sears Canada should be catalyst for change

    … to prevent this sort of fiasco… chang[e] our corporate laws so that those controlling corporations can be held personally liable for money owed to their employees… Wealthy capitalists used to be personally responsible for unpaid wages when their businesses went under. But capitalists fought hard in the late 19th and early 20th century to win the right to limit their liability. At first they won only a partial limit, but over the years U.S. and Canadian courts have extended that limit.

  • CPP, subsidizing survivor pensions, not fair — to a point

    The fundamental problem with CPP is that it serves two masters: it’s designed to serve as a self-funding aid to financial security in retirement and to alleviate the plight of impoverished single seniors, most of whom are women… Is CPP fair? No. But it’s also not fair that far too many older single women live in poverty. Subsidizing child-rearing years and paying survivors’ pensions may not be fair, but it’s the right thing to do.