Speech focuses on the successes and challenges in Canada's pension environment, including growing anxiety and pressure on the middle class
BANFF, AB, April 24, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, Bill Morneau, Executive Chair of Morneau Shepell, the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services, delivered the closing keynote speech to the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute (CPBI) 2015 Western Regional Conference.
The conference convened speakers from the business community, federal and provincial governments, labour groups, entertainment and media sector and academia to discuss key challenges, trends and successes in Canada's pension environment. The gathering took place in Banff, Alberta before an audience comprised of industry experts and participants.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, Mr. Morneau addressed attendees on the success of its implementation, and subsequently, the success of Canada's current pension system since its inception in the late 1960s in eradicating old age poverty. "In the late 1960s, a Senate Special Committee on Aging and Poverty estimated that 65.9 per cent of men and 70.1 per cent of women over 70 were classified as poor," said Morneau. "Today, estimates of Canadian seniors over 65 living in poverty are closer to six to seven per cent. This is a huge achievement."
Morneau stressed that Canadians, both in the public and private sector, need to keep focused on maintaining this success for the next generation and not lose sight of those who continue to face challenges in retirement – specifically the middle class. He noted that as Canadians, we must work together to address the variable outcomes from our retirement system. He also pointed out that data trends found in Morneau Shepell's database of Canadians who use its Employee and Family Assistance programs show that these concerns are causing anxieties in the population.
"Never have Canadians felt so anxious about their futures. In the past four years, the number of employees who report significant levels of stress in their daily lives has tripled. The number of those who reported financial anxiety has doubled since 2009," said Morneau. On the middle class, Morneau added; "We also see that the changing nature of the economy has led to increased rewards for those at the top, and very modest gains for those in the middle – earning between $50,000 and $100,000 – making savings significantly more difficult for this cohort."
In his closing remarks, Mr. Morneau spoke of the need for Canada to enhance the current system to ensure that we continue to enable Canadians to retire with dignity.
Bill Morneau co-authored The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think, and How to Make That Happen.
About Morneau Shepell Inc.
Morneau Shepell is the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, as well as the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,600 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.
SOURCE Morneau Shepell - Pension/Retirement
For further information: Nathan Gibson, Manager, Corporate Communications, Morneau Shepell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-390-2641