Wynne’s pension plan step in right direction

The rationale for establishment of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) is clearly a sound one.
It is indisputable that there is a crying need for workers to be able to retire within a system that provides greater financial security.
In that regard, The Caribbean Camera has spent the last two years driving home the crisis situation in which Canada’s labour market has been tanking, with nothing but less and lower quality employment looming in the future. So, it is not surprising that the cardinal principle on which Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government has conceptualized and structured its ORPP is that long-term, full-time employment with pension benefits is no longer a realistic expectation.
In fact, that “realistic” conclusion is at the very centre of our country’s major socio-economic dilemma.
Indeed, it is one of the core issues and one of the most controversial challenges of all societies today.
Some of us would go so far as to say that humanity will never progress unless that conclusion is turned on its head. Those of us who hold that view would argue that it is absolutely essential that all workers, at their respective levels of income, enjoy the security of an economy that makes it possible for all workers and their families to have at least the basic necessities of life.
For many if not most citizens, that basic security includes long-term, full-time employment with a pension and a series of other benefits such as health care that also covers the cost of prescribed medication. For others who are self-employed or who switch jobs at one time or another, that basic security may mean a flexible pension system in which they can be accommodated on a continuing basis with varying levels, interruptions and adjustments in the pattern of their contributions.
Notwithstanding those differing needs, all workers can agree with a fundamental truth: the existing federally administered Canada Pension Plan (CPP) cannot fill the revenue gap that is experienced by the majority of retirees. The ORPP is therefore a legitimate effort to provide workers with “a predictable source of retirement income for life”, as stated in the official provincial documentation.
It is also worthy of note that the ORPP is indexed to annual inflation levels and thus will keep pace with the rising cost of living. And this provincial system is expressly intended to add to the revenue provided by the CPP, not to replace it. A survivor’s benefit is another of its positive aspects.
Furthermore, we can be confident that the linkages between those two pension plans will be constructively maximized. In particular, we look forward to the federal government granting its blessing for the CRA to include in its operational arrangements the task of collecting the ORPP contributions from employers and employees, thus saving the ORPP and everyone else another series of bureaucratic expenses.
Similarly, Ottawa will hopefully expedite the parliamentary approval of the draft law required to enable some federally regulated workers and self-employed workers to be covered in the ORPP.
As soon as those and the other requirements are in place, we will have opened the door for about four million workers to enjoy the future advantage of an improvement in their standard of living when they retire, to be financed from the $6 billion in annual contributions that the ORPP will mobilize for that exclusive purpose.
The ORPP is a step in the right direction and Wynne and her government deserve credit for insisting on making it a reality.