An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of Oct. 19, 2016

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-27.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 to provide a framework for the establishment, administration and supervision of target benefit plans. It also amends the Act to permit pension plan administrators to purchase immediate or deferred life annuities for former members or survivors so as to satisfy an obligation to provide pension benefits if the obligation arises from a defined benefit provision.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

June 13th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Thank you so very much, to your whole team, for your work.

I want to ask a question of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. I'm grateful for your big impact advocacy. You've really changed a lot of policies in the country by virtue of your focus on policy change.

On your website, you note that almost a million people in Ontario alone rely on defined benefit pension plans for retirement income. We're concerned that the government's Bill C-27 is trying to replace defined benefits with the less-secure target benefits plan. A witness from the United Steelworkers at an earlier meeting for this study told the committee that the elimination of defined benefits could put senior women in danger of living in poverty.

Can you describe why it's important for senior women to have access to secure pension plans?

PensionsOral Questions

May 11th, 2017 / 2:35 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our government wants to help Canadians achieve a safe and dignified retirement. It is key to our plan to help middle-class Canadians.

Bill C-27 aims to broaden the scope of retirement saving opportunities available to Canadians. Under our legislation, individuals have a choice. Those who do not consent maintain their benefits in their current form.

We are willing to take all the necessary time to give all parties the opportunity to share their suggestions regarding this process.

PensionsOral Questions

May 11th, 2017 / 2:35 p.m.
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NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Bill C-27 is an attack on stable and secure workplace pensions and it would let employers back away from commitments to workers and pensioners. There have been no consultations, and we are seeing the private sector salivate at the profits associated with the bill, including a CEO who talked about how the changes would directly benefit his company. One might ask which company. Well, it is Morneau Shepell, of course.

Speaking of which, will the finance minister admit that his promise to consult was just a sham? Will he immediately withdraw this anti-labour bill that attacks workers' pensions?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I particularly appreciated the member's comments around veterans.

In that same vein, a number of retirees have raised issues with me. With this set of omnibus bills, we do not see the government bringing in legislation that would improve financial security for those retirees, something that the Liberals promised, but they are doing quite the opposite with Bill C-27. This bill would allow crown corporations and federal private sector employers to back out of defined benefit pension commitments. This is impacting a lot of people in a negative way.

One of my constituents asked me to voice his concern and his outrage and his disbelief at the government tabling Bill C-27. Forced into retirement because of declining health, he paid into a defined benefit pension for 34 years, but he is going to see a penalty as a result of the Liberal government's actions.

Does the member think it is right for the Liberals to promise retirees that they would enhance their financial security, yet do exactly the very opposite when they formed government?

PensionsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 13th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions that I have been keenly waiting to present to the House on behalf of Canadians.

The first is an electronic petition signed by 8,425 Canadians from across the country. They are calling on the Government of Canada to withdraw all support for Bill C-27, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, that the Minister of Finance has tabled in order to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, and to remind the current Liberal government of its promise to help Canadians realize their goal of a secure retirement.

April 6th, 2017 / 9:20 a.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Great. Thank you.

This is for any of the three witnesses. I want to talk a little about Bill C-27. This is a bill that is now in Parliament for debate, and it modifies pension benefits. We are concerned that it threatens the defined benefit plans that women in particular rely on. We've already heard witnesses at this committee say that they are concerned about Bill C-27. Jennifer Howard, from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said, “If we have seen a decrease in poverty among senior women, good pensions is one of the biggest causes of it”.

I see that the steelworkers at least, and maybe UFCW as well, has written to Minister Morneau asking for Bill C-27 to be withdrawn and for defined benefits to be protected.

I am interested to know whether you have received an answer to that letter. Also, can you talk a bit more about why eliminating defined benefits is so harmful for women, especially elderly women without other sources of income?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

April 5th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and address the government's budget. It is a budget that the hon. member for Outremont and leader of the NDP rightly called the “we'll get around to it” budget. In part he called it that because if we look at the budget, the columns for this year for various initiatives are filled with zeros. The government is clearly not doing it now, so presumably it will get around to it. We will see about that. That is from the present.

However, he was also making a historical comment about the typical behaviour of Liberal governments. He cited the example of the Chrétien-Martin era. A lot of promises were made in the red book in 1993, for instance, around a national pharmacare plan and doing something with respect to child care. Come the time the Liberals were ultimately defeated in 2006, they were still saying, “just one more election and we're going to get to it” and “It's coming.” They had the audacity, frankly, to be indignant about the fact that they were defeated after 13 years of government and some pretty unsavoury stories coming out of the Gomery commission saying that there were things that Canadians needed, that they really wanted the opportunity to do them, and shame on other parties for having observed they were not getting around to it and maybe it was time to replace them.

Therefore, given that historical context, one has every reason to look at that behaviour, and at this budget, and worry that this government is not serious about getting around to the things that need to be done.

A good example is the housing file. If we look down the column, it is filled with zeros for this year. Of course, there are promises of big money, that it is coming but we have to hang on. In 2023 things will be really great, we will have spent multiple billions of dollars, and that by 2027 that will have doubled. I submit to the House that this is not really a good way of making policy. It certainly is not a good way of doing politics. It is sort of starting an arms race of who can announce money further into the future.

What we are concerned about, and I think Canadians and people in Elmwood—Transcona are concerned about as well, is having the government allocate resources and funds to its priorities now, not 10 or 20 years from now. If we make a habit of getting into announcing money further into the future just to have bigger, more impressive numbers, there is no reason why we should not be talking about $40 billion by 2039 or $50 billion by 2047. If we wanted to get really polemic, we might announce a trillion dollars by the year 2100.

This game of simply announcing money further into the future to make it look as though the Liberals are taking action on priorities today is not the right way of doing politics. It is not a good way of doing policy for that matter. That is not to say that we cannot have long-term deals, but those deals have to include some action today. There is no guarantee that one, or two or three elections from now the government of the day will honour those deals. Therefore, if the government wants to show its sincerity with respect to taking action on the priorities of Canadians, it is important it spends some money today. That certainly was promised by the Liberals in the last election, but it is not delivering that with this budget.

Child care is a great example. The Liberals talk big numbers on child care. If we look at the amount of aid that will got to working Canadian families that need child care so they can report to work and have confidence that their kids are in a safe place with well-trained staff, the number is zero. That is a strange way for the Liberals to treat their priorities.

Incidentally, I have noticed this is a feature of the government. A number of things have happened, for instance, undermining the lawsuit of Air Canada maintenance workers who wanted to keep their jobs in Canada. That was not mentioned as a priority of the government, but it certainly got done. There have been other examples of things that were done in the House that were not talked about in the election. The things that are not being done are the things that were promised. Therefore, the lesson here is, God forbid we become a priority of the Liberal government because we would wither on the vine.

The things that corporate CEOs bring to the government, which the Liberals did not talk about during the election, are going to get the priority. That is the list people want to be on, if they are rich enough to get on it. That lesson is evident in this budget.

Canadian workers who have been laid off in the economic slowdown might be one of the six out of 10 Canadians who cannot access the EI fund. There is nothing in the budget that talks about changing the eligibility rules to allow more workers who have been laid off to access that money to make their mortgage payments, to put food on the table, and to keep a roof over their head while they look for new employment.

Canadians are owed that, particularly when we consider that successive Liberal and Conservative governments stole money out of the EI fund. Workers paid into that fund in case they needed it in these circumstances. It is shameful to see, once again, that ordinary working Canadians are being asked to wait, being told by the Liberals that they will get around to it, maybe if they are elected two, three, or four more times, 15 to 16 years sounds about right.

The corporate lobby bandwagon might have slowed down by then and then the Liberals will get around to the priorities of Canadians. We have seen this with the veterans. There is nothing in the budget about restoring lifetime pensions for veterans, which was a promise of the Liberals during the campaign. They are being asked to wait.

On defence spending, the Liberals are taking money that was allocated for defence spending and back-ending it. It was not enough to just back-end the new money. The Liberals looked at the budget and noted that there was old money that was not back-ended. They could correct that by taking it out of the budget and back-ending it. Never mind the fact that the Canadian military needs new equipment now to do its job properly and safely.

The Liberals have not been content with just back-ending new money. They want to back-end the old money as well. They are doing this in the context where through Bill C-27, and a couple of other examples I would mention if I had time, they are mounting an attack on the pensions of Canadian workers. We saw it a bit with the CPP not including the dropout provisions for women and people with disabilities. Incidentally, if people take advantage of their extended parental leave, which is just extra time with no extra money, the same amount of money they would have had over the course of a year stretched over 18 months, they are then penalized on the next tier of CPP that the Liberals were so proud to have brought in because they did not include the dropout provisions for women and people with disabilities.

Even when the Liberals are trying to do something right, they just cannot seem to help themselves. They have to do something to throw a monkey wrench into it, particularly when it comes to pensions. If people need any evidence at all, Bill C-27, sitting on the Order Paper, is all the evidence they need to know that the government is not committed to real pensions for Canadian workers. Shame on it for that.

How do the Liberals do all this? How do they go to seniors and say, “sorry, there is nothing in the budget for you”, even though a national pharmacare plan would actually save money for Canadian taxpayers, but they cannot be bothered to do it? They tell seniors that they do not have the money to do it. Meanwhile, a Liberal priority in the election, and as I said earlier, God forbid we become a Liberal priority, was to close the CEO stock option loophole, something worth over $750 million of revenue to the government each year. It was a priority during the election, so it is not getting done.

Then the Liberals have the nerve to turn around to Canadian workers and tell them that there is no money for them when it comes to pharmacare, expanding EI, investing in child care. They just say that they do not have the money, because Bay Street showed up and said that it did not like the idea of being taxed fairly so the Liberals backed right off.

When it comes to sweetheart tax haven deals with Barbados and other countries that allow corporate CEOs to hide their money offshore, the Liberals are not taking any action. It is easier to go to Canadian workers who do not have the same power and the same say as CEOs and tell them to wait, to tighten their belts. That is what is shameful about this budget.

When we hear about the CRA giving amnesty to Canada's richest and worst tax cheats, when that revenue could be used to invest in those services that working Canadians actually need, it is easier for the Liberals to tell those working Canadians to wait.

Shame on the Liberals for having so little for Canadian workers, because they are not willing to stand up to those who should be paying their fair share. It is not enough to tell Canadian workers to tighten their belt when the money is out there.

March 7th, 2017 / 9:25 a.m.
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Executive Director, Public Service Alliance of Canada

Jennifer Howard

We are also opposed to Bill C-27. I think it opens the door to an attack on defined benefit pension plans by opening the door to the target benefit plan. The average salary for our members is about $45,000 a year. These are middle-class folks, and when they retire they have access to a good pension that is deferred wages—a pension that they pay into all their working life. If we have seen a decrease in poverty among senior women, good pensions is one of the biggest causes of it, along with women being in the labour force—either their own pensions or having access to survivor pensions, which is also key for women, who tend to live longer than men.

We see this as an attack on those pensions. We know those pensions are critical to good retirement income and dignity. However, we also want young women—some of the women who are going to be in here later today—to have access to those pensions.

March 7th, 2017 / 9:20 a.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

I'm reminded that at the committee last year, there weren't any witnesses who asked for a delay along the lines that the government's now proposing, so we're going to keep pushing.

Moving to either Jennifer Howard or Lisa Kelly, I'd love to hear from either of you on this. We've been hearing a lot about the changes to pensions, introduced by the government, under Bill C-27, which threaten the defined benefits pensions that many retired women depend on for income.

I've been hearing a lot from constituents in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, which has a lot of elderly people and folks in the retired bracket. I have been hearing that women especially have a higher representation in defined benefits programs. When they don't do well, that's especially what drops retired and elderly women into poverty.

Just this week, we got copies of letters from the Canadian Labour Congress and United Steelworkers, asking the finance minister, Bill Morneau, to withdraw Bill C-27 and protect defined benefits.

Can you explain, for the record, why those changes are so harmful for women, in particular, especially elderly women without other sources of income, and what would you recommend the government do to protect the pensions for those women?

PensionsOral Questions

February 9th, 2017 / 2:40 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, helping Canadians achieve a safe and dignified retirement is key to our plan to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. Bill C-27 aims to broaden the scope of retirement saving opportunities available to Canadians. Under our legislation, individuals have a choice. Those who do not consent, they maintain their benefits. We are willing to take the necessary time to give all parties the opportunity to share suggestions within the process.

PensionsOral Questions

February 9th, 2017 / 2:40 p.m.
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NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' Bill C-27 is an attack on stable, secure workplace pensions that would let employers back away from commitments to workers and pensioners. This week, workers came to Ottawa to raise their voices about this dangerous bill. Now, according to reports, the Liberal government has said it will put a hold on Bill C-27 because of widespread opposition.

Will the government commit to withdraw this anti-worker bill and refrain from any further attempts to attack workers' pensions?

Opposition Motion—Commitments Regarding Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 9th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of those who may be listening at home, I will remind the House that the motion we are debating today states:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government misled Canadians on its platform and Throne Speech commitment “that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”, and that the House call on the government to apologize to Canadians for breaking its promise.

It is a simple motion in response to a simple act. The Liberals announced last Wednesday that they simply would not be following through on their commitment. It was a clear commitment and it clearly demands an apology to the House and Canadians.

I rose in the House last spring on an optimistic note. The Liberals made that commitment in the election campaign, repeated it in the throne speech, and then proceeded to drag their heels in getting the process started. Incidentally, they later argued that they did not have enough time to change the voting system, but they burned up six months sitting around to come up with the lame idea of having an ordinary committee study the issue. How it takes six months to come up with the idea of establishing a regular committee with a government majority, I do not know. Neither did Canadians nor the media, and that is why it was panned broadly.

Last spring, I was pleased to rise when the government saw fit to act on a good idea, which was the NDP idea to have an all-party committee where the government would not have a majority. It seemed that maybe this was a step forward, that maybe the government after all was serious about following through on that election and throne speech commitment. That was an optimistic time, but since then, a lot has happened. It seemed at times that we were moving in the right direction and then there were setbacks.

For instance, last October, it felt like a setback when, all of a sudden, the Prime Minister, who had said many times in the House that 2015 would be the last election under first past the post, said in an interview, “Under Mr. Harper, there were so many people who were unhappy with the government and his approach that people said, ‘We need electoral reform in order to stop having governments we don’t like’.”

Essentially, he was saying that if it works for him, it must be working for Canadians, and when it works for people he does not like, then there is a problem. That felt like a setback. That felt like the Prime Minister was moving away from his commitment.

Later, on December 2, hope sprang again, because the Prime Minister stated, “I make promises because I believe in them. I’ve heard loudly and clearly that Canadians want a better system of governance, a better system of choosing our governments, and I’m working very hard so that 2015 is indeed the last election under first past the post.”

The Liberals have since said that there was no consensus. That sounds to me like the Prime Minister was saying there was a consensus that we need to make a change. When there is that kind of consensus for a change which, granted, is not the same as consensus on a solution, what people expect from their government is leadership to put forward a proposal that might actually move us forward. We are still waiting on the proposal. They have announced they are not keeping the promise and we never even heard what the proposal would be.

It surely was not for lack of consultation, because members on all sides of the House went into their own constituencies and talked to their constituents. The committee travelled across the country and talked to Canadians and experts. Over 80% of Canadians who spoke to the committee said they wanted a proportional system and over 90% of the experts said that a proportional system was the best for Canada.

Then we heard all sorts of possible solutions, possible voting systems, and possible proposals. The government had but to pick one and put it to Canadians, but before it could be bothered to do that, it said it simply was not going to go ahead with its promise. That is pretty sad, particularly coming from a Prime Minister who, in the last election, said he was the one who was going to ride into the House of Commons on his white horse, clean up the cynicism in Canadian politics, that he would be the one to show Canadians there is a better way, that he would inspire young people to get involved in politics and affirm the value of electing different governments, because different governments could behave differently. Believe me, that is not the only example.

Last Wednesday was the most cut and dried example of the Prime Minister walking away from that message of hope. In a week, well over 90,000 Canadians have signed an online petition calling on the government to keep its promise. That is not 90,000 people in the rinky-dink way that they set up the My Democracy survey, where we do not know if they live in Canada, and do not know if they signed up many times, because the e-petition system, unlike the government's lame survey, actually has integrity.

We know that over 90,000 individual Canadians have signed that e-petition and are calling on the government to keep its promise. Instead, today the Liberals are standing up and shamefully saying that not only are they going ahead with breaking that promise, but they do not even have what it takes to apologize for going ahead with that. Then we are told that it is the government that is going to bring an end to cynicism.

Let us look at the Liberals' excuses for breaking that promise. At the time that they decided to break it last week, the initial answer was that there is not consensus. We certainly heard that from Liberals here today, although I say they cannot have consensus on a proposal they never made, so there is something structurally wrong with that argument. If they had actually proposed something and could not reach a consensus on that, then they might have a case, although we do not even know what the threshold for consensus is. Is it a vote in the House of Commons? Is it a referendum? Is it how many retweets they get when they put it out on Twitter? We do not know. The government has not said.

There is an issue with saying that they do not have consensus when they have not tried, but there is also an issue with a government that says it needs to have consensus, whatever that means. I do not know if that means every Canadian in the country has to agree on one thing before we go ahead with it. The Liberals certainly did not think they needed consensus to break promises, so it is an interesting inversion. If they were to go and talk to most Canadians, they would say that a government can go ahead and implement the election promises that it has a mandate to implement, and if it wants to break those promises, then it should be looking for consensus from Canadians, who could say that something has changed since the election, something has changed since they decided to cast their ballot for the Liberals and so they agree that the government needs to break this promise. Instead the Liberals are going around breaking promises all over the place without consensus, and then saying they need consensus just to keep the promises they made during the election. I cannot be the only one who thinks that is completely backwards.

For instance, when the Liberals said they would not approve new pipelines without a new process and then went ahead and approved at least three pipelines under the old Harper process which they ran against, that to me seems like something they might have sought consensus on. I do not think they would have found it if they had sought consensus on that. But the Liberals do not think they need consensus to break their promises, only to keep them. They did not seek consensus when they launched an attack on defined benefit pensions in this country by tabling Bill C-27, and that was not even an election commitment.

The idea that somehow the Liberals are bound by consensus is ridiculous. If they really felt that they needed consensus from Canadians to move forward with important initiatives, they would do that particularly in the context where they are breaking promises. That was laughable. I do not think anyone in Canada is buying the idea that simply because there was not consensus, when the government never even so much as tried to build it around a particular proposal, somehow that is an excuse for breaking a cut and dried promise.

Then there was the leak to the Huffington Post that maybe this was not about the lack of consensus; maybe this was about the growing threat of the alt-right and this was really about Prime Minister Trudeau standing up against the alt-right and making sure it could not sneak in. But the fact of the matter is, and members have said it before—

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

December 12th, 2016 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Edmonton West for bringing this private member's bill forward. Many times the member and I do not see eye to eye, but I certainly have a lot of respect for him, and I enjoy listening to him.

It is my pleasure to rise today to speak to the private member's bill, Bill C-301, an act to amend the Income Tax Act and to make a related amendment to another act, which will affect registered retirement income funds, otherwise known as RRIFs.

The NDP is supporting the bill at second reading because we feel it deserves to be sent to committee for further study. The issue of mandatory minimum withdrawal requirements is an important issue for retirees trying to maintain an adequate income in their retirement.

It is our view that a detailed examination of the rules regarding RRIFs is necessary to help ensure that seniors are not outliving their savings. Retirement insecurity is reaching a crisis level in Canada, as many Canadians do not have adequate savings to maintain their lifestyle upon retirement. Any measures that will make it easier for seniors to maintain an adequate income must be looked at.

Much more needs to be done to help our seniors live with the dignity they deserve. The high cost of housing and drugs, the clawback of the GIS, and the indexing of pensions are just a few immediate issues. The government also needs to keep its promise to introduce a new seniors price index to make sure that old age security and the guaranteed income supplement keep up with rising costs.

Of more immediate concern is that the government must immediately fix the flaw in its new plan for enhanced CPP benefits. I am sure that members have heard the discussion about the mistake that the government made in Bill C-26 and how the exclusion of dropout provisions in the bill would have a negative impact on those who take time to raise children, especially women, and on those living with a disability. The government will have its chance next week at the finance ministers meeting to fix its mistake. We will all be watching.

This private member's bill will remove the mandatory minimum withdrawal requirements from registered retirement income funds and will change the retirement income fund definition. Registered retirement income funds, known as RRIFs, can be thought of as an extension of a person's registered retirements savings plan, or RRSP. An RRSP is used to help people save for retirement, while a RRIF is used to withdraw income during retirement. RRIFs are similar to RRSPs in several respects. Each allows for tax-deferred growth, offers several investment options, and is government regulated.

A major difference between an RRSP and a RRIF is that with an RRSP, a person can make annual contributions as long as they have earned income and have contribution room available. Withdrawals are optional and will be taxed. With a RRIF, contributions are not allowed, and a person must make minimum minimum mandatory withdrawals each year. RRIF rules and withdrawal rates were introduced in 1978, and then increased in 1992.

In 2015, the Conservative finance minister lowered the mandatory registered retirement income fund withdrawal amount to 5.27% from the previous 7.38%. Also, previous to 2007, the age limit for converting an RRSP was 69. The 2007 budget changed the age to 71, in order to strengthen incentives for older Canadians to work and save. When RRIF rules came into effect, lifespans and time spent in retirement were much shorter than they are today. RRIF holders now face the considerable likelihood of running out of money in late stages of retirement.

The NDP has long been in support of lowering these rates. In 2015, the NDP pension critic John Rafferty introduced Motion No. 595. It read:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should review the Registered Retirement Income Fund mandatory minimum withdrawal thresholds and amend them to ensure they do not unduly force seniors to exhaust their savings too quickly.

The problem with the RRIF withdrawal schedule is that people are living longer, and if the schedule is followed then it is very likely that an account holder will run out of savings by age 92. At that point, the person who had saved diligently throughout their life will see their quality of life decline at a delicate time, through no fault of their own.

There are also concerns that RRIF rules can cause clawbacks on people's benefits from OAS and/or GIS. We know that people are living longer, and this fact will have an impact on seniors and on their ability to have enough money to see them through their retirement. In this context, it is interesting to look at some facts about today's seniors.

The probability today of a 71-year-old female reaching age 94 has almost doubled compared to 1992, from 13% to 24%. The probability of a 71-year-old male reaching that age has more than tripled, from 4% to 14%. There are 265,000 Canadians who are 90-plus years of age today. With the baby boom generation reaching these ages, the number of people living beyond 90 is expected to rise dramatically. By 2021, there are projected to be 355,000 Canadians aged 90-plus, including 80,000 people over the age of 95.

Most Canadians do not have alternatives to private savings for retirements besides CPP, OAS, and GIS. When RRIF rules were first put into place in the 1970s, Canadian households saved about 15% of income. By 2011, the household savings rate plummeted by a factor of five, to just above 3% of income. Canadians between the ages of 65 and 69 today hold only an average of $40,000 in RRSPs, which is a very modest amount. In 2011, workers aged 55 years and over accounted for 18% of total employment, compared to 15% in the 2006 census. This was the result of an aging baby boomer generation and increased participation of older workers in the labour force. Mandatory minimum RRIF withdrawals are becoming irrelevant as women and men are living at least twice as long, and staying in the labour force longer.

As I said earlier, the NDP intends to support this bill at second reading, as we feel it should be sent to a committee where the issues of RRIF withdrawal and income security for seniors can be properly studied. I am disappointed to hear that our Liberal colleagues will not be supporting the bill and are not in favour of this issue getting further study. However, then again, maybe I should not be surprised. The Liberals have made some progress on the issue of retirement insecurity with their modest increases in the GIS and their modest increases in benefits in the enhanced CPP proposal. That being said, the government has also launched a tax on some Canadian pensioners. Its failure to include dropout provisions in the enhanced CPP is certainly an attack on women and those living with disabilities.

We also have Bill C-27, which is clearly an attack on every worker and retiree who has invested in a defined benefit pension plan. It is a policy on which the former Conservative government did consultations and eventually decided not to move forward with it. Now it looks like the Liberal government is going to finish the work that the Conservatives started. The current government's plans are inconsistent and confusing. The strategy for dealing with the retirement income crisis is uneven, inadequate, and at the end of the day will be ineffective. Canadian seniors will be hurt as a result.

I urge all members to support this bill, so we can refer it to a committee where we can study how to better help Canadian seniors live with the security and dignity they deserve.

Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985Routine Proceedings

October 19th, 2016 / 3:15 p.m.
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Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)