Edmonton - A crisis in retirement income is looming in Canada and Albertans will be among those hurt the most - unless there's real reform of the nation's pension system.
"Albertans have the lowest retirement savings in Canada," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). "By 2030, 67 per cent of Albertans will not have enough for a dignified retirement. Currently, 31 per cent of Albertan seniors live on less than $16,000 per year today."
"Albertans are less likely to be covered by an employer pension plan than other Canadians - and those with pension coverage are likely to have inferior coverage compared to other Canadians. Only 38 per cent of Albertans contributed to an RRSP in 2008, and the median contribution was only $3,200 per year," he adds.
Because of the clear need for action on the pension crisis - and with Canada's finance ministers due to discuss pension reform in Kananaskis, Alberta, next month - the AFL and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will hold a summit in Edmonton on Saturday, November 27th, and will bring in some of the country's leading pension experts to discuss pension reform. Participants in the summit, Pension Reform or Poverty: How to Solve Alberta's Retirement Crisis, include:
- Bernard Dussault, former chief actuary of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (1992-1998). He is the author of a bold proposal for a universal pension plan that has won national attention;
- Dr. Jonathan R. Kesselman, a professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy and Canada Research Chair in Public Finance. He is the author of a research paper released by the University of Calgary that has become extremely influential in the national pension reform debate;
- Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 140,000 workers. Earlier this month, the AFL launched a campaign for real pension reform, urging Alberta to abandon its opposition to CPP expansion;
- Hassan Yussuff, Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC, which represents 3.2 million workers. The CLC has led a national campaign to expand CPP;
- Paul Moist, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada's largest union with 600,000 members. He has led his union's campaign for solutions to the pension crisis.
Time: 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 27, 2010
Location: Grant MacEwan University, Main Floor Multi-purpose Room, 106th Street Building, 10700 - 104 Avenue, Edmonton
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Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour Cell 780-218-9888