Life and health insurance industry urges Finance Ministers to make simple
pension rule changes now

TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - On the eve of the meeting of Finance Ministers in Whitehorse, the life and health insurance industry is calling for changes in legislation that will significantly increase the opportunities for Canadians to save for retirement. In letters sent to federal and all provincial and territorial Finance Ministers on behalf of the industry, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) laid out proposals that would promote greater use of employer-based retirement savings.

"Our proposals can make an enormous difference in encouraging Canadians to save for retirement, without the need for government intervention and the risks that it could bring," noted Frank Swedlove, CLHIA President. "Legislative changes would be minor and could be done quickly, and the private sector can be ready almost immediately to provide expanded pension opportunities to Canadians."

More specifically, the industry's proposed changes include:

    i)   permitting multi-employer defined contribution pension plans so that
         individual employers do not have to take on the costs and
         administrative burden of being a plan sponsor;
    ii)  allowing employers to auto enroll their employees; and
    iii) allowing variable contributions by employees as their age and salary
         levels change.

Combined with similar changes for group RRSPs these proposals would create more and better options than exist today for small and medium-sized businesses and the 3.5 million self employed.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry provides a wide range of financial security products, including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance, to about 26 million Canadians and their dependants. Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business.

SOURCE Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media enquiries, or for more information on the life and health insurance industry's proposals, contact: Wendy Hope, Vice President, External Relations, (416) 777-2221 or (613) 230-0031

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