Pensions are a real concern to Canadians today. Our government has been engaged in a very serious discussion with Canadians on pensions and pension security throughout the year. Moreover, we have also taken concrete action to strengthen Canada’s retirement income system and reduce the tax burden on seniors since forming Government in 2006.
First, we have been reviewing issues related to pensions under federal jurisdiction. In January, we released for public comment a major research paper on the legislative and regulatory regime for federally regulated private pension plans. Our Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance MP Ted Menzies also conducted extensive cross-country and online public consultations Canadians on the legislative and regulatory framework for federally regulated private pension plans. (http:www.fin.gc.ca/n08/09-018-eng.asp)
As a result of these consultations comprehensive regulatory changes to improve the federal pension framework are being drafted and will be released shortly.
Second, along with provincial governments, in May we conducted and completed the mandated triennial review of the Canada Pension Plan. (CPP) Reforms to CPP were unanimously agreed to by all governments as part of that review. These reforms include the removal of the requirement for individuals to stop working or reduce earnings for two months in order to take CPP and permitting more low-earning years to be excluded from the pension calculation.
Third, we are working with the Provinces to strengthen pension assets regulations and conduct an in-depth examination of retirement income adequacy. Fewer than 10% of pension plans are federally regulated with the majority regulated by the Provinces and this is why we are working with Provincial Finance Ministers to help ensure your pensions have a reliable regulatory framework.
Finally, to help protect pension benefits while allowing companies more flexibility in meeting their pension obligations, we brought into force new regulations to provide temporary solvency funding relief for federally regulated defined benefit pension plans. The measures cover plans established for employees working in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction (http://www.fin.gcca/n08/09-059-eng.asp)
Add this to all the changes to ease the tax burden on Canadian seniors (2Billion annually) has helped seniors through these tough economic times. We know returns from your investments are down and so our government wants to help you keep what you do receive. Income splitting, the Tax Free Savings Account, and more personal tax credits are just a few of our initiatives.