Ontario is forging ahead with its own provincial pension plan regardless of whether there is “a change of heart” — or government — in Ottawa, says Premier Kathleen Wynne.
With Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to enhance Canada Pension Plan benefits, Wynne said the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan must be implemented.
“If we don’t get going right now we won’t be ready in 2017. We’re designing this plan so that it is consistent with the CPP,” she told reporters Thursday at Queen’s Park.
Asked what would happen if either NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair or Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau succeeds Harper in next year’s federal vote, Wynne refused to be drawn into a “hypothetical” scenario.
“We are not going to wait until the federal election to move ahead. We must move ahead,” the premier said.
“If there’s a change of heart or of government federally we may be able to have another discussion, but we’re not going to wait — we’re starting today, we’re starting right away to work to implement the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.”
Wynne made her comments flanked by Finance Minister Charles Sousa and her newly appointed Associate Minister of Finance Responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Mitzie Hunter.
The three politicians had just finished a roundtable meeting in the cabinet chamber with the government’s technical advisory group on retirement security.
The new plan would mean an additional $788 deduction from the annual salary of someone earning $45,000, which critics claim is a payroll tax while proponents argue it’s a forced savings.
With only about one-third of Ontario workers covered by an employers’ pension plan, Wynne made the new public scheme a cornerstone of the Liberals’ successful re-election on June 12.
Sousa announced the pension plan in the May 1 budget that triggered the recent election. He will re-introduce the same spending plan on July 14.