Freedom 75? Quebec’s pension plans are falling far short
MONTREAL—Quebec’s pension plans are underfunded to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. Quebecers are starting work later, retiring earlier, and living longer.
A new report released by a committee of Quebec pension experts is recommending a new government managed “longevity pension.” Employers and employees would both have to contribute equally to the fund.
A retired worker would be able to start receiving the extra benefits at age 75.
Experts say there is simply not enough money in private or public plans to support everyone.
According to the Quebec government, in 1970 the average age of retirement was 65. By 2009, it had gone down to 60. In 1970, men and women lived until the age of about 78 to 82 on average. After retirement in 2009, you could expect to live until 83 or 86 after early retirement.
The pension system is under incredible strain.
“Workers in Quebec, 1.9 million, don't have any benefits from a collective saving plan. So we propose a defined benefit for the four million people in Quebec who are working,” said Alban d’Amours, the head of the pension committee. “This plan should provide 20 per cent more when they reach 75 years old.”
That would be in addition to Quebec’s pension plan, Old Age Security and any private savings. The proposed “longevity pension” would be a defined benefit plan.
Employees and employers would contribute equally up to a maximum of about $840 a year.
“It's a legitimate approach, it's a very sensible approach,” said Robert Bouvier, the president of Teamsters Canada.
The longtime trade unionist says it's time to face facts.
“The unions and the leaders of these communities will have to sit together otherwise there will be no pension and I don't think anyone can afford that.
The Quebec government has said it will present longevity legislation soon, to pave the way for a more plentiful pension for all.