Canadian Institute of Actuaries calls for speed, consistency and cohesiveness
in pension reforms from finance and pension ministers meeting in Whitehorse

OTTAWA, Dec. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The many Canadians who are deeply concerned about the state of their financial well-being in retirement are keeping a watchful eye on the outcome of the upcoming meeting of provincial, territorial and federal finance and pension ministers as they consider whether Canadians are saving enough for retirement and how governments can help.

As experts on pensions and retirement saving, Canada's actuaries have been advocating for several years for the reform of the Canadian Pension System and of the legislation and regulation of Defined Benefit pension plans.

Recently, the profession released its call for pension reform in a document entitled, "Retooling Canada's Ailing Pension System Now, For The Future." Among its 10 featured elements is one that calls for pensions to be included on the national agenda and for a national summit of ministers to discuss pension issues, solutions and timelines for action. The unprecedented meeting of finance and pension ministers in Whitehorse over the next two days is a significant milestone - one that should set Canada on the road to a comprehensive pension summit.

Canada's actuaries believe this important meeting should result in clear outcomes that include:

    -  Setting aside individual jurisdictional perspectives to focus on
       moving forward with a common understanding of our pension system, its
       problems and what each minister needs to contribute to the necessary
       reforms of the system overall;
    -  Reaching a consensus on the priorities as well as a timeline for
       resolving the issues in a consistent and uniform way;
    -  Emerging with a common understanding of the importance of acting
       quickly, decisively and cohesively;
    -  Support for reforming the legal, legislative and regulatory
       environments to encourage the maintenance, expansion and creation of
       employer-sponsored pension plans across the country;
    -  That the ministers give particular consideration in their proposals to
       the usefulness and effectiveness of Defined Benefit pension plans as a
       means to provide retirement income for Canadians and ensure their
       proposals provide fertile ground for these types of plans;
    -  Agreement on the value to Canadians of harmonizing and aligning
       legislation and regulation across the country; and
    -  A commitment to ongoing meetings of finance and pension ministers
       aimed at streamlining the reform process for the good of all

As the country continues to recover from the current financial and economic crisis, we understand that there are many competing priorities for governments. As actuaries, we know there is no miracle solution to the myriad issues facing the Canadian Pension System. Despite this, there is a need for retirement savings and pension issues to be at the top of our governments' priority lists. The short-, medium- and long-term health of our pension system and safeguarding the financial security of Canadians depends on this, and the actuarial profession is ready, willing and eager to assist.

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the national organization of the actuarial profession. The Institute is dedicated to serving the public through the provision, by the profession, of actuarial services and advice of the highest quality. In fact, the Institute holds the duty of the profession to the public above the needs of the profession and its members.

Actuaries employ their specialized knowledge of the mathematics of finance, statistics and risk theory on problems faced by pension plans, government regulators, insurance companies (both Life and Property/Casualty), social programs and individuals.

SOURCE Canadian Institute of Actuaries

For further information: For further information: Josée Racette, (613) 236-8196, ext. 107

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