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Finance ministers eye CPP increase

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Minister of Finance Charles Sousa. (Toronto Sun files)

Minister of Finance Charles Sousa. (Toronto Sun files)

TORONTO - 

The country’s provincial and territorial finance ministers have agreed on the principles behind a possible increase in CPP, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says.

“We know that a tsunami of retirees that’s going to occur in the next coming years is going to impact quite heavily on all provinces right across Canada,” Sousa said, after the Toronto meeting wrapped up Friday.

Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan raised some issues with a CPP hike but agreed in general that there is a looming problem with retirement income, he said.

Any CPP enhancement should improve the future retirement earnings of middle-income Canadians and protect low-income workers, the ministers decided.

They also concluded that any short-term impact of any increase in CPP payments on businesses and employees should be moderated.

“We agree that what we have now is insufficient. We agree that the middle-class income earners are the most vulnerable,” Sousa said. “It’s understood that we have to correct this now, put in place something that’s going to provide positive benefits in the future.”

Ontario will continue to press the Stephen Harper government for a CPP enhancement at a meeting planned for December.

CARP, a seniors’ organization also calling for CPP enhancements, said it welcomes the finance ministers’ support and urges the federal government to move on this now.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warned that the current proposal would increase annual premiums over 10 years by $2,200 for workers and by $1,100 per employee for businesses, hurting individuals and the economy.

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