moved for leave to introduce Bill C-357, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (arrears of benefits).
Madam Speaker, these last few years have been incredibly difficult for seniors. They have worked hard all their lives and played by the rules. However, now their retirement savings are threatened through no fault of their own by downturns in the economy and employers who are trying to avoid their pension obligations.
The least we can do as legislators is to ensure that the money to which seniors are entitled through government pensions will be there for them in their retirement. That is why I am introducing legislation today that would allow for full retroactive benefits plus interest when someone applies late for benefits under the Canada pension plan.
The CPP is a pay-as-you-go contribution-based program that is funded solely by employers and employees. It is absurd that a person who is late in applying for his or her pension under the CPP is only entitled to 11 months of retroactive benefits. It is not the government's money.
This bill would put an end to this insufficient and unfair period of retroactivity, and would do the same for disability pensions or a survivor's pension and a disabled contributor's child benefit. This is something that should and could have been corrected long ago.
I urge all members to support this important bill today. By definition, seniors do not have a lifetime to wait.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)